Are we ready to talk about the Baby Braves being a legit contender for the NL East yet? No disrespect to the Mets; I still think they have a great team that can also contend for the division crown in 2018. They got good news today with Jacob deGrom’s injury not being too serious. They even went as far as to saying that he might even be able to make his next start, so that’s great news.
It would also be foolish to write off the Nationals, even though they’ve got a .500 record and currently sit in fourth place. They ain’t done yet, and with their fifth straight win today, they’re starting to heat up and it should shock no one if they blew by everyone in the division en route to their fifth division title in the last seven years.
But as far as these Braves go, they were supposed to be rebuilding — and they are — but they’re also two games behind the Diamondbacks for the best record in the National League and have overtaken Arizona for the best run differential in the NL. After today’s 11-0 bloodbath against the Mets to complete the three-game sweep, the Braves have won five straight themselves and are winners of 10 of their last 14 games. Only the Rays and Yankees have a better record over that two-week span.
Obviously all eyes have been on Ronald Acuna since being called up, and rightfully so, but Ozzie Albies has been here since the start of the season and he’s been absolutely crushing it. After going 2-for-6 today with a homer today, Albies is hitting .280 with a .938 OPS, 10 homers, which is just one behind Mike Trout and Mookie Betts for the major league lead, and 12 doubles which is just one behind Eduardo Escobar for the major league lead.
After going 3-for-5 and hitting a ball 451 feet into the second deck, Acuna is hitting .382 with an 1.138 OPS in the 8 games since being called up. Julio Teheran also tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning.
Also, it has to be noted that the Braves’ run differential (+57) is nearly three times better than the next best team in the NL East. That would be the Nationals at +20. Atlanta might not win the division, but I don’t think they’re bowing out of the playoff picture any time soon.