I didn’t think coming back to this blog, I’d have to talk some of you off the ledge. Thanks to Ted Turner, I’ve been a Braves fan since the mid-80s. I know what it’s like to lose and lose A LOT. But I”ve also watched this team win the World Series not once, but twice! And one of the things I’ve learned many moons ago is, very simply – “Don’t Panic”. Am I concerned that the Mets are putting a lot of ground between first and second place? Sure. I underestimated them during the long cold winter, and they could still fall apart as they did last season.
But, I wouldn’t bet on it.
Anyways this isn’t why we’re here. Everyone seems to be putting most of the blame for losses on one person’s shoulders, Matt Olson. When in reality, the whole team is underperforming. But first, let us look at our new first baseman. He leads the team in OPS+ with 123, wRC+ of 128, and leads the league in doubles. People keep pointing out that he’s only hitting .189 w/RISP. For contrast look at, Austin Riley the defacto clean-up hitter, he’s only hitting .167 w/RISP. Ozzie Albies in the longest home run drought of his career, and Adam Duvall only slashing .189/.258/.268, he is hitting .250 w/RISP, heck with men on he’s hitting .260. The team as a whole is slashing .228/.290/.351 w/RISP.
Most people want to put it on the new guy who replaced, you know…that guy. Look, Olson is coming over from the American League, there’s going to be an adjustment. Look at Fransico Lindor’s last season as an example. He had a tough time adjusting to the National League and it showed. I’d expect the same for Matty, I haven’t lost patience yet, and honestly, you shouldn’t either.
If you’ve followed this team for any amount of time you should know how this works. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride all season. Peaks and valleys come with the territory. But I do think it’s time to come off the ledge for now. We’re about to start our third month of the season, and yes we’ve got a mountain ahead of us. I just don’t think the way they’re playing now is going to be a lasting thing. A lot of pundits are already counting the Braves out.
I for one have not.