Braves Still Sinking to New Lows With Offense

The Atlanta Braves offense is continuing to struggle in June, and as a result, the team is falling further behind the Philadelphia Phillies.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson
Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves offense couldn't have started the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles much better. Michael Harris II opened the game with a triple.

But instead of the extra-base hit breaking the Braves out of their offensive slump, it symbolized the problem in a microcosm.

Harris' triple not only didn't lead to a "crooked" number in the first inning, the Braves didn't score at all. Ozzie Albies grounded out to shortstop, Austin Riley struck out and Matt Olson popped out in foul territory, stranding Harris 90 feet from home.

It was the beginning of a night that saw the Braves go 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position during the 4-0 loss. The Braves have also now been shut out twice in the past six games.

Prior to last week, the Braves hadn't suffered a shutout loss in over a year.

"The bats are asleep right now," Olson told reporters after the game, via The AJC's Justin Toscano.

Over the past 40 games, the Braves are averaging 3.4 runs per contest. That average has dropped to an incredible 2.33 runs per game over the last week.

In June overall, the Braves have only scored 34 runs. Despite the best pitching efforts, that has led to a minus-14 run differential.

The Braves averaged more than twice as many runs in April than they have over the past six games. That suggests it could only be a matter of time until the Atlanta offense is "awake" again.

"We’re working. It’s not going our way right now," Olson added. "We’re continuing. Hopefully start a hot streak.”

But with each passing game, it seems less like a slump and more of the Braves new normal.

Behind the offensive struggles, the Braves have posted a record six games below .500 since April 29. That's dropped the team to 10 games out of first place.

The Braves hitters must avoid pressing at the plate. That will only make things worst. Maybe that's already part of the current problem.

But if the team's offensive slump doesn't end soon, it may be too late to make a serious run at the NL East title.

Dave Holcomb