Low point of season for Braves

Associated PressAtlanta Braves' Marcell Ozuna during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Milwaukee.

A former NFL head coach famously quipped after a game that, “They are what we thought they were.” Dennis Green referenced his Arizona team's opponent Chicago after the Bears came back for a surprising win.

Atlanta Braves fans wish they could describe the three-time National League East Division champs that way 50 games into the season. The team with so much potential and so many expectations, including a legitimate threat to contend with the Dodgers for a World Series berth, has been a bitter disappointment so far.

The Braves have had numerous low points this season. They have had three separate four-game losing streaks. The were blanked in a doubleheader by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-0. 

But last week was undoubtedly the rock bottom part of the season so far.

The most obvious centers on outfielder Marcell Ozuna. The Braves' prized offseason signee was out on bond Monday following charges of aggravated assault by strangulation and battery against his wife. Reports surfaced that Ozuna grabbed his wife by the neck, threw her against a wall and even struck her with a cast on his injured left hand.

Major League Baseball and the players' union have a joint domestic violence policy in place. The expectation is a long suspension for Ozuna. An extended jail time might and should be in order. It wouldn't shock this columnist if Ozuna's time with the Braves is up.

Then there's the uncertainty surrounding pitching phenom Mike Soroka. Manager Brian Snitker had to backtrack his original statement on Friday that Soroka would be out for the remainder of the season. He later said Soroka, who's still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

This does not send strong vibes of a positive development for the ace right-hander. Without his services, the Braves do not have a true No. 1 on the mound.

Then a sobering dose of reality was dealt to the Braves last week, despite only playing three games. Sandwiched in between two rainouts, against the first-place New York Mets, the Braves-Mets series was reduced to a 13-2 rout by the first-place team. The Mets have proven to be the division's best, even if they don't hit. The Mets post a 3.09 ERA, led by Jacob deGrom's 0.80. Thankfully, the Braves avoided him for another series.

All in all, it was not a good week for the Bravos. I call it the low point of the season.

Clint Thompson is a special contributor to the Valdosta Daily Times.

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