Atlanta Braves Brian Snitker felt restless as manager. He was awakened by the defending champions.
After his team lost the first 2 games of a series to the Arizona Diamondbacks To close May, the Braves were four games below.500. Snitker realized that something had to be done.
“I was just rolling around, not asleep,” he said. “Then, I began to jot down some notes in my hotel room and needed to get in front them. We weren't ourselves.
“I was receiving texts, ‘Are they going to blow these men up?' No. That is not what players respond to.”
Snitker then consulted Walt Weiss (his bench coach) and decided to act quickly. He called a closed-door session in the visitor's Clubhouse as his players entered Phoenix Chase Field with the possibility of a sweep.
Weiss stated, “Snit isn't going to get infront of a club and rant or rave.” It was a simple message.
The message is: Relax. The result: 14 consecutive wins.
By the time the Braves finally lost for the first time this month Friday, they had cut the Mets' NL East lead from 10½ games to 5½. They had gone from 4½ games out of a wild-card spot to owning the National League's fourth-best record.
“One event doesn't make 14 wins happen,” new Braves first baseman Matt Olson said. “But it was nice for Snit to get up and tell everyone that they should relax a bit. It was not a great game of baseball, so it was a simple meeting.
This felt familiar. The Braves had a slow start to their season, but they won a championship and became the first team to reach the World Series.
Snitker admits that winning the 2021 title may have been due to the slow start. The players might have felt the effects of a season that ran into November, followed up by a winter full of appearances and ad campaigns. In more than 20 years, baseball has not had back-to-back champions. The slow start of the Braves only heightened talk about a World Series hangover.
It takes about a month for you to feel normal. It can take a lot from you,” Snitker admitted. “I don’t know if hangover would be the right word. It was an effort, but it is also a result of a long, deep playoff race.
Third baseman Austin Riley Adds: “I don’t know anything about hangovers. We put too much pressure on ourselves. This stuff was outside of our control.
Both sides of the ball have contributed to the Braves' revival. Atlanta's OPS of 3.870 is third in the majors since June 1. Only the Yankees have more home run than the Braves' 39. During this stretch, the 3.61 ERA of the pitching staff is seventh in baseball. This kind of contribution is even more critical as the schedule increases with series against other teams. San Francisco Giants And the Los Angeles Dodgers This week.
Snitker spent the offseason studying the effects that repeated attempts can have on a team's physical and mental health. Snitker took note of one exception: the 1992-93 season. Toronto Blue Jays.
Snitker stated that they had 14 new men the second year. “I remember the 14-year period we had.” [in the '90s]. It was 10 guys that I saw every year.
“You won't carbon copy this thing.”
The Braves made it clear from the start of the winter that they would not try. A combination of offseason moves finally saw them say goodbye. Freddie Freeman Olson, say hello!
Snitker was called to the locker room June 1, just one day after the Braves lost the second game in the series to the Diamondbacks. It was a complete turnaround from there. The series finale was won by the team against the Diamondbacks. Next came sweeps of Nationals, Athletics, Pirates, and Rockies. Sixteen days later, Atlanta lost. They lost two of three games to the Cubs.
Outfielder: “We've found a groove.” Adam Duvall said. “Everyone does their job. Everybody is contributing. … Sometimes it can be good to come together and ensure that everyone is working in the same direction.
“There are only so much things you can control,” rookie Spencer Strider said. “When you bring attention to somethings, you make them a priority. There was no need to panic or change the way we worked.
It is impossible to quantify how many of this streak. Really It had to do the message Snitker sent to his team three week ago — but at least he's getting better sleep at night.
Snitker smiled, saying that it was probably more about him than it was them. “I felt like it was time to let it out of my system.”