It may be early in the MLB season, but the Atlanta Braves are staking their claim as a team to watch this year.
Following an eight strikeout performance by Sean Newcomb and a 7-0 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field, Atlanta is in unfamiliar territory – in first place of the National League East division.
Newcomb, one of the young lions the Braves have on their pitching staff, showed a presence on the mound that led to seven scoreless innings. The night before, Mike Soroka was equally impressive in his Major League debut. The Atlanta Braves are starting to resemble a franchise like the early 1990s, where talent was developed in the minor-league system and excelled on the main roster.
This is the latest the Atlanta Braves have been in first place in the division since July 2014.
Manager Brian Snitker praises his team and talked on MLB.com about the importance of being out in front of the division early.
“The schedule that we faced the first month of the season, man, it’s just like every night, it seems we are facing [Noah] Syndergaard, [Jacob] deGrom or [Max] Scherzer or [Stephen] Strasburg,” Snitker said.
“It keeps coming at you. There are really good teams. I am proud of the way the guys are hung in there. We have been competitive. We have been in every game. We give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Atlanta Braves are blessed to have young talent. In addition to Newcomb and Soroka, everyday players like Ronald Acuna, Ender Inciarte, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson and veteran Freddie Freeman have led the charge.
The Atlanta Braves collected seven runs on nine hits against the New York Mets’ bullpen.
“Our conference is pretty high right now,” Freeman said. “We have been playing great baseball since day one. To go out there and win games like that on the road, when we were down a game and a half to take over first place, it’s big for us.”