Home-heavy schedule to give Braves opportunity to break through at SunTrust
ATLANTA — Despite a 2-4 road trip that included two losses to the Red Sox, holders of the best record in baseball, no one has won more games away from home than the Braves’ 19.
Of course, no one has spent less time in their ballpark, in the season’s first two months either. Atlanta has played just 20 games in SunTrust Park, just one more than the Rockies’ 21.
That makes the stretch ahead of the All-Star Break, with the Braves playing 25 of their next 38 at home — starting with an eight-game homestand that opens with Monday’s Memorial Day doubleheader against the Mets — a welcome sight.
“It’s nice to be home,” said first baseman Freddie Freeman. “… We (knew) we were going to be on the road a lot early on, and luckily we were playing well there.”
The National League East-leading Braves are just two games over .500 (9-11) in Atlanta, which is only better than the Rockies — who sit atop the NL West at .428 (9-12) — among division leaders.
But the Braves, who are fourth in the majors, and second to only the Cubs’ 5.2 runs per game in the NL, are plating an NL-best 5.5 per at home.
But they’ve also allowed 4.4 a game (15th), which includes yielding eight to the Nationals on April 2 and outbursts of nine and 11 runs by the Giants on May 4 and 5.
Those games in particular go a long way toward driving up the runs per game considering they’ve also given up three runs or fewer eight times.
Only seven qualified starters have a higher home FIP than Julio Teheran’s 6.11, but Brandon McCarthy is at 2.86 at home, Mike Foltynewicz has a 3.00 FIP and Sean Newcomb’s is at 6.11.
“That’s just a baseball thing,” Freeman said of the team’s record at home. “We’ve played more on the road than we have at home. I feel like when you get home it’s always just nice to get home and then next thing you know, dry cleaning’s being picked up and we’re back on the road again.”
With a schedule front-loaded with road trips, the Braves’ hope is they can thrive in the hot, humid Atlanta summer as they push for their first postseason berth since claiming the division in 2013.
“We always said that when teams come in in July and August, we felt like we have the advantage because you’re playing in 100 degrees and we’re used to it and they’re coming in from L.A. and San Diego and getting beatdown by the heat,” Freeman said. “Hopefully that plays into our advantage later on.”
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney and Facebook. His books, ‘Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told,’ and ‘The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and Its Winners.’ are now available.