The Atlanta Braves just finished a stretch of 29 games against teams below .500 and made up some ground, but the road ahead gets more difficult.
Going back to May 19, the Atlanta Braves were 17-21 and 8 games back of the first place New York Mets.
That’s when they began their run of 29 games against teams below .500.
While they didn’t get off to the best start in that stretch going 6-6 and falling as far as 10.5 games back, they turned it on after that winning 14 in a row and going 21-8.
The Braves had cut the deficit in the NL East to as low as four, but a series loss to the Cubs over the weekend stretched it back out to 5.5.
It may not seem like much, but picking up 2.5 games over that stretch in the division gives them a chance heading into the Summer months.
Getting to nearly 10 games over .500 also puts them squarely in the Wild Card picture just in case they aren’t able to run down the Mets.
If the season ended today, the Braves would get the final Wild Card spot.
There is a still a long way to go, but the Braves did exactly what they needed to do and more during this stretch.
Now the real test begins
Braves Schedule Picks up
To finish off the month of June, Atlanta will come home to play four games against the New York Giants who they are currently battling for a Wild Card spot.
Then you get the return of Freddie Freeman to Atlanta as they get the Dodgers for three.
After that, they go on the road to play the equally as hot Philadelphia Phillies who are nipping at their heels in the NL East and Wild Card.
That’s pretty brutal 10-game stretch to end the month, but it could tell us a lot about this team going forward.
Did they simply just take advantage of a weak part of their schedule — there is no shame in that — or are they actually playing good baseball now and ready to compete with the other good teams in the league?
The schedule the next months is up-and-down and then it gets a little easier in September. But after a horrible start to the season, the Braves are right where they need to be.