Right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. celebrates after hitting a home run. Credit: @braves on Instagram

Heading into the 2022 MLB season, The 2021 World Series Champions Atlanta Braves, looked to repeat their success. The Braves gained and lost many key players during the 2022 off-season. The Braves were unable to re-sign outfielder World Series MVP Jorge Soler, first baseman and MVP winner Freddie Freeman,  outfielder Adam Duvall and outfielder Joc Pederson. However, the Braves traded for first baseman Matt Olson, signed closing pitcher Kenley Jansen, drafted pitcher Spencer Strider and outfielder Michael Harris II and re-signed outfielder Eddie Rosario.

The Braves roster changed a lot between the end of the 2021 season and the beginning of the next, however, the goal was the same: back-to-back World Series Champions. The season started off rocky as the Braves went a mediocre 10-12 in the month of April. The Braves followed it up by going 13-15 in May, not any better. 

The shaky start to the season forced the Braves’ management to make a bold move in order to turn the season around: they called up rookie Michael Harris II. Harris’s effect on the team was instant, as the Braves impressively won 21 of 27 games in June, despite the injury to all-star second baseman Ozzie Albies. Additonally, Braves rookie pitcher Spencer Strider began heating up and would go on to break the Braves single game strikeout record later on in the season. Both Harris and Strider have been unarguably the best rookies this year and are the favorites for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Dan Schlossberg said, “The Harris-Spenser competition is the best between rookie teammates since 1974, the year Fred Lynn and Jim Rice joined the Boston Red Sox outfield.”

The Braves contiued their success, winning 18 games in July, August and September. The Braves worked their way back into the playoff race and managed to sit at the top of the National League Wild Card for the majority of the year. The Braves topped the NL East on October 1st in their last series against the New York Mets, while also managing to sweep the Mets in the three game series. The Braves went on to win the divison with a 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on October fourth, giving them a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The Philidlphia Phillies won their Wild Card round and were set to play the Braves in the National League Division Series (NLDS). The Braves began the series with two games at home, in which the series split one and one. The NLDS continued by traveling to Philidelphia. In Philly, the Braves lost both games: ending the series and the playoff run for the Braves. The season did not end in a way neither players nor fans wished it had, however as a whole it was an extremely successful season.

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