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Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Huascar Ynoa throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

May 18, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Braves Country is bummin! The first quarter of the Major League marathon season has been tough to watch in the Deep South. It’s amazing that we’re still in the NL East mix.

Soroka lost for the season. D’Arnaud probably not coming back. Ynoa in frustration fractured his right hand and now is on the shelf for a couple of months. This is absolutely crazy!

This could be a long summer,” one Braves insider lamented to me recently.

Even Acuna has scared us on two occasions, with the thought that he seriously injured. Remember him getting hit in the pinky? And that incident running it out full-go to first base provided some anxious moments.

Any way to reboot this season? Seriously.

Let’s all take a really deep breath. And try to relax. This is going to get better, right? No way we continue down this dark, bumpy road.

The Braves bats are capable to doing some damage. We can score more runs. Freeman settles in and finds his mojo. Ozuna starts banging it. Dansby erupts. Riley starts playing longball. Contreras earns the catchers spot the rest of the way, by squaring balls up. Albies delivers big. Acuna avoids injury and puts up MVP numbers.

Then, the bullpen finds some consistency in the late innings, during those high-leverage moments that are slipping away right now. Maybe Anthopoulus brings in some more help.

Chris Martin and Shane Greene should provide a boost in the set-up role. Braves fans need both of those right-handers to come through the rest of the way. Matzek and Luke Jackson have been dependable so far. Will Smith is another critical piece to the puzzle.

The rotation is barely hanging on, with Ynoa’s foolish, knucklehead move. Come on, man. Everyone knows you use your non-throwing hand to hit the wall!

So, right now the rotation looks like Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Charlie Morton, Smyly and Wright and/or Wilson.

Also, there are top prospects that Alex Anthopoulus could use in a trade. Kyle Muller and/or Tucker Davidson would love to break into a Major League rotation right now. Outfielders Drew Waters and Michael Harris have some market value. Suddenly, the Braves have a stockpile of quality catchers, so maybe package one of them (Langeliers or Contreras).

This Braves team needs help now.

I remember when Anthopoulos got hired, he mentioned something in his opening press conference that got my attention.

He told us about how he understood that Braves Country didn’t care about winning in AAA. All they cared about was winning in Atlanta.

Just wanted to remind him of that.

I’m not ready to give up on the season. We’ve got 75% of the trip left to go. There is time to get it turned around. All I’m saying is that I need a little dose of hope.

Let’s make a deal. Or two.

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