This is not what you should expect from the 2021 Braves – BY KEVIN MCALPIN

atlanta braves, travis d'arnaud
Atlanta Braves Travis d’Arnaud (16) follows through on a home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – No, the sky is not falling. No, the season is not over. No, this is not what you should expect from the 2021 Braves. Obviously, the new year didn’t get off to the start that anyone had hoped for, being swept out of Philly and held to just three total runs in the first three games. But the Braves have proven to be a resilient team. This group has always found a way to fight through adversity and move forward, not dwelling on a tough series. There’s 159 games to go. And remember what happened at the start of the 2019 season? That’s right, the Braves were blown out of Philadelphia, swept to start the regular season. Know how that year ended? That’s right, with the Braves winning 97 games en route to an NL East title. Meanwhile, the Phillies finished at .500 on the nose, going 81-81 during the 2019 season.

When you play 162 games, of course there will be series and weeks like the Braves went through. But remember, three games does not a season make. Does anyone really think the top four in the order will continue their collective struggles? I don’t. The manager doesn’t. Heck, the players don’t. Trust the back of the baseball card, and don’t base your opinion on a team or season on one series. Sure, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers, especially the strikeout totals (35) for the first series. But at the end of the day, tip the cap to Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin and the Phillies bullpen. They were terrific. It happens.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t all doom and gloom from a Braves perspective this weekend. The rotation did their job. Max Fried admittedly didn’t have his plus stuff. But all told, if that’s his “C” stuff, you’d take that every fifth day. Charlie Morton was cruising through four, but the Phillies made him pay for a couple mistakes with two outs in the fifth on Saturday. And Ian Anderson, while the pitch count got up in a hurry, battled his way through five innings, limiting the damage to just one run. Ultimately, the Braves didn’t hit. The Phillies really didn’t either, but managed just enough to walk away with the sweep. Remember, it’s three games. Three of 162. This Braves bunch will be just fine.

Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

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