Thanks to last night’s 6-3 victory over the Pirates, the Braves are 1.5 games back of the Phillies. Atlanta has won 9 of their last 11 games, and is 18-8 in the month of May. Then again, the schedule has been fairly soft of late (Pittsburgh, Florida, and Cincinnati in the last 10 games) so you would expect the Braves to take care of business if they are a serious contender.
The favorable schedule does gets harder in the first half of June. This is good because it means the Braves will have a shot at overtaking the Phillies at home before traveling out West for a difficult road trip that includes the Dodgers, Diamonbacks, and Twins. The Braves have been ridiculously bad on the road, so this trip will really be their chance to turn things around. If the Braves are going to push forward, they will have to play at least .500 ball on the road.
Interleague play will continue at home with Tampa Bay, but the second half of June lightens up a bit with KC at home, followed by a road trip to take on the Chicago White Sox. The Braves close out June with home dates against Detroit and Washington.
If Atlanta hangs tough in June (I am still not sure why I am projecting things this far forward) I think they will make or break their season in the first part of July. Closing out the first half of the season, Atlanta hosts Florida, followed by a road trip to Philadelphia and New York. By the time those nine games are over, the Braves should know if they are a buyer or seller coming out of the All-Star Break.
Keeping my fingers crossed that the Braves are actually remain in playoff contention headed into the second half of the season!