MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Look, the Braves are off to a bad start. It’s not what we were expecting. But it’s mid-April. There is still plenty of baseball left to go.
We must be patient with this team. So far, there have been issues with the defense, the offense, the bullpen and even Tuesday when Bartolo Colon looked bad. That’s what happens when you start slow. Part of the problem with this slow start is Friday. The Braves will open Sun Trust Park and there is no doubt – they’d be much better off starting with a winning record compared to what they’ve got.
You know the executives – who have waited for this opening day for three years, are not happy with the record. It really shouldn’t matter, though. Fans are going to come to the new stadium anyway, at least early on. It’s new, so people will want to see it regardless of what the Braves are doing. That may change on May 1st, when the Braves get back from a nine-game road trip. It might be a bit more important then for the Braves to be playing better.
I still believe this team can be a winning team, over .500. But we have five and a half months to watch it play out. You can’t win a division, or even a wild card berth, in April. The Braves need to kick it into high gear, so I’m not taking the slow start for granted. The defense must buckle down. The bullpen must be more consistent. And I admit I’m a bit worried about the offense with Matt Kemp out, even for a few more games.
But you must trust the players, and as manager Brian Snitker says, trust what’s on the back of the baseball cards. We saw enough of Ender Inciarte last year to know he’s better than what he’s showed so far. Remember, he got off to a slow start last season before he got hurt. We have faith in Dansby Swanson to do better at the plate. They need Freddie Freeman to come through in clutch situations. But he’s never given us reason to believe he can’t do that over a full season.
The clutch hitting is another thing. We’ve seen too many times this season when the Braves had scoring opportunities, but they either struck out or hit into a double play. That’ll even out soon. My main point is… we must be patient. There is a lot of “new” on this team – a lot of new players, a new manager and even a new stadium. Let’s give them time, at least a month, before we push the panic button. It’s not what we were expecting, but it doesn’t mean the final chapter has been written before Tax Day. Heck, many fans don’t even pay attention until Memorial Day, and we haven’t even had Easter yet.
So let’s see if the Braves can get on track, but don’t go jumping off the bridge yet.