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Nobody has repeated as MLB champions in 21 years, but a lot of people seem to believe the Atlanta Braves can tomahawk chop down that streak.
The defending champs begin their quest on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds, as the delayed Opening Day has finally arrived. First pitch at Truist Park is set for 8:08 p.m. EST.
The Braves have won four straight NL East titles. Baseball experts have them pegged to capture another. Repeating as overall champs, again, is a different matter entirely. No one has done it since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees.
But the Braves have plenty of reasons to believe. For starters, the big bats of Matt Olson, Austin Riley, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies can be lethal. And watch out if Marcell Ozuna turns into something closer to the hitter he was in 2020.
Star power ⭐️@PaulByrd36 and @TwoSportman are looking forward to watching this new-look Atlanta infield go to work. pic.twitter.com/1bVC5pPpHs
— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) April 6, 2022
Pitching-wise, things are equally impressive. “The bullpen is the best in the league with the additions of Kenley Jansen and Collin McHugh,” wrote David Schoenfield of ESPN.
Starters Max Fried, Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson form a true Big Three, though behind them, things get a little tricky.
“This is the most complete team the Braves have had entering a season since the early 2000s. But there are definite questions about the back end of the rotation,” wrote Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
A talented roster and experienced manager in Brian Snitker? It seems that once again, all good things are possible.
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What happened to Soler?