Monday July 15th, 2024 1:56PM

Braves' GM on struggles: 'It's about making sure you get to the playoffs one way or the other'

By Noah Trister AP Sports Writer

BALTIMORE — Atlanta general manager Alex Anthopoulos held a media session before a game — which sort of says it all about how the Braves have been playing.

“I don’t normally do scrums during the season, because we’ve done well," he told reporters Wednesday. "If I’m doing them, that means we’re not playing well.”

This is, of course, all relative. The Braves have the fourth-best record in the National League. But they lost their fifth straight game Wednesday night, 4-2 at Baltimore, and they trail NL East-leading Philadelphia by double digits. So Anthopoulos was available to discuss the disappointing reality.

He acknowledged that by their standards, the Braves aren't looking good, but there's obviously a lot of season left. Right now three teams in the National League — Philadelphia, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Dodgers — have significant division leads. Atlanta (35-30) is the best of the rest. In fact, only five teams in the league are above .500.

Three seasons ago, the Braves went 88-73, but that was enough to take the division. They went on to win the World Series.

“The Phillies are obviously playing exceptionally well — best team arguably in the game right now — but it's about making sure you get to the playoffs one way or the other,” Anthopoulos said. "Right now, the NL, I bet you if you took a lot of these teams and these front offices, they'd tell you the same thing. No one's playing the way they thought they would — barring Brewers, Dodgers, Phillies."

Still, Atlanta hadn't dropped five straight since 2017, the last time the Braves didn't win the NL East. Two years ago, the Braves came from behind to win to win the division after the New York Mets had a big lead.

A similar comeback this year will be tough, since reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. is out for the season because of a knee injury. Anthopoulos said he's been more active than usual in terms of pursuing trades, but nothing is imminent.

“The offensive issues seem like they're spread across the league," Anthopoulos said. "A lot of GMs are saying the same thing. People feel like they're not hitting the way they can.”

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