Braves Next Week Huge In NL East Race

Atlanta reliever Kirby Yates is returning from injury in an important stretch for the team
Atlanta reliever Kirby Yates is returning from injury in an important stretch for the team. The Braves next seven days could determine the teams fate in the NL East race. AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo

Starters Going Deep In Games Key In Big Next Stretch For Braves

Atlanta plays eight games in the seven days, four with the Miami Marlins and four with the New York Mets. The Braves next week will go a long way towards determining whether they stay in the NL East race or have to settle for a wild card spot. The performance of the team starting pitching, and how deep they go in games, will be key to whether or not they can close the gap on the Mets. New York and the Philadelphia Phillies have an important series in Queens this weekend as well.

In three of the five games against the Mets last week Atlanta starters lasted less than five innings. Friday night against the Marlins Jake Odorizzi left after pitching just four innings for the Braves. The Braves bullpen only gave up one run but walked five, including two in the ninth by Kenley Jansen. With a double header tomorrow Ian Anderson and Kyle Muller recalled from AAA, need to ensure the bullpen is not taxed even more.

Young Players Continue To Play Key Roles For Atlanta

The Braves called up top prospect Vaughn Grissom Wednesday. So far, so good for Grissom and Atlanta. In Friday’s game, he again had a key hit, a double, in front of Michael Harris’s home run. Harris’s 11th of the season wound up being the difference in the team’s 4-3 win over the Marlins. The Braves called up Harris at the end of May.

The team needs contributions from both players if Atlanta wants to catch the Mets. Before calling up Grissom the Braves second basemen struggled to replace Ozzie Albies. Albies likely will return before the end of the season, but Grissom will have more at-bats in big spots before he does. Before Harris call up Atlanta struggled to find a long-time solution at centerfield. Both players need to continue to perform beyond their age for the team to stay in the division race.

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