While the Braves’ plans to abandon the city of Atlanta have been mentioned in this space, I’ve been too busy anticipating the Mets going 19-0 against their longtime NL East rivals to pay much serious attention to what the former America’s Team have actually put on the field this season. Perhaps that’s for the best, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz notes the club are currently on pace to go 0-162, which “somehow seems appropriate in the same season the franchise created the deformed offspring of a hamburger and a pizza.”
At the risk of irritating the Braves’ marketing suits, who would prefer you focus on their new mutant food creations, magnetic schedule giveaways and fond reminders (corporate euphemism) of this being their final season at Turner Field, here’s your reality check.
This team stinks. No, I mean it really stinks — way worse than most even expected it to stink, which means sportsbooks’ dire projections of 66 to 67 wins is starting to look optimistic. The Braves hadn’t started 0-5 since the 1988 season, when they opened 0-10 on the way to going 54-106.
Centerfielder and leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, whose entire game depends on his speed, went on the disabled list Sunday with a wonky hamstring. Reliever Dan Winkler, another of the Braves’ post-Tommy John reclamation projects, dropped to his knees in pain in the seventh inning after suffering a right elbow fracture while delivering a pitch.
In another move, the Braves shipped the remains of reliever John Gant (four runs, six hits, two homers, several dreams crushed, in three innings) to Triple A Gwinnett before the game. So before opening a seven-game trip at Washington Monday night, the Braves’ roster will include three new players who weren’t considered good enough to make them out of spring training.
They return home April 19. There are tickets available. Also roster spots.