The first half of the season seemed somewhat frustrating for the true Brave fans out there. Six games ahead at the All-Star break and 13 games over .500, how could the Braves get any better for the second half of the season is the question that other fans have been asking over the past week.
First off, the Braves have to win games on the road. At three games under .500 away from the Ted, What is a relief for the Braves is that the teams longest road trip in the second half is only seven games long, with absolutely ZERO of them coming outside of the eastern or central time zones.
In the first half of the season, the Braves had a number of series against good teams that sat over the .500 mark. In the second half, they will only have six series against teams about .500 with three of those series being against the Washington Nationals. Needless to say, the Bravos need to take care of the series that they should win, and deal with the Nationals with all seriousness.
Secondly, the pitching rotation is going to have many questions. With Brandon Beachy coming back from injury, and Alex Wood stretching out his arm in the starting rotation in AAA Gwinett, who is going to be the odd man out? Will Maholm be trade bait or will Kris Medlen be making a move to the bullpen? These are decisions that Fredi Gonzalez is going to be facing when the second half progresses.
The starting lineup didn’t make it easy for Fredi throughout the first half, and we can only hope they start hitting more consistently. The team only had three players with averages over .260 at the break (Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, and Brian McCann) while two starters aren’t hardly hitting .200 (Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton). What is even more troubling is they are only hitting .243 with runners in scoring position and they have struck out 826 times in only the first half.
Good contact with runners on base will start to push the Nats and Phils to play better baseball in the second half. The Phillies have lost Ryan Howard and other players to injury, and I don’t see them making a huge run at the division, but if the Nats start actually scoring runs and the Braves keep striking out and leaving runners on base, we could see a sprint for the divisional