The Atlanta Braves are back in action tonight after a day off on Monday. They took two-out-of-three against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend and begin a three-game series against National League East rivals Philadelphia Phillies tonight on the road.
The Braves head into the series one game under .500 (28-29) with 105 games remaining on the season. Luckily, no team in is running away in the division so still plenty of time left in the season to get into playoff contention. However, Atlanta is three-games out of first place on June 8.
What are three specific things you need to see from the Braves so that they can regain last year's form, or at least be a playoff team?
-Freddie Freeman needs to get back to form: "It's weird to see Freddie go on these prolong slumps like this." He got back off to a bad start but appears to have turned things around as of late.
-Bullpen: If the bullpen is better, and it looks like it is, they should be able to get the team through games (and will make up for starters only going five-six innings). Brian Snitker also needs to use his bullpen more conservatively.
-Ride short-term solutions while they're working: If guys from the bench are giving you're team a spark, and are playing well, give them more playing time.
-MVFree: Freddie Freeman has got to get back to that MVP level. He's always been consistent at the plate.
-Morton/Smyly: I need those two guys to live up to their contracts. If they're going to give you only five, they have to give a strong five.
-Use bullpen depth: It can't just be a committee; use them when you need to in order to maintain. If that's in the 4th-inning, use them. If it's not until the 7th, do that.