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Braves News: Kenley Jansen’s Struggles, Michael Harris II is Magnificent, more

For the second time over the past three weekends, the Braves experience less than ideal results against a playoff-caliber team.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Seattle Mariners Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports

Just 48 hours ago, the Braves were in sole possession of first place in the NL East. Now, as the Braves look to get back on track against the Giants, they have lost two straight games and are now 1 12 games behind the Mets in the division.

While there obviously is still plenty of games remaining for the Braves to eventually win the division and hopefully earn a postseason bye, there also is a relevant concern that continues to emerge during the home stretch of the season.

Kenley Jansen’s blown save in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game was his third blown save in his last seven appearances. While stretches like this occur for many MLB relievers nearly every season, Jansen’s struggles have now lingered for an extended period of time.

Consider his production before and after his stint on the injured list in early July:

Before injury stint (went on IL on 6/26) :

32 23 IP, 2.17 FIP, 2.61 xFIP, 12.95 Ks/9, 2.20 BBs/9

Since return from injury (returned from IL 7/13):

19 13 IP, 4.70 FIP, 5.12 xFIP, 10.07 Ks/9, 5.07 BBs/9

Whether or not Jansen’s latest blown save will lead to any changes in how he is used or Atlanta’s closer situation remains to be seen. What is evident is that, at least right now, Jansen’s inconsistences make it hard to trust him in high leverage situations, especially against quality competition.

On a more positive note, one player who continues to improve and play at an elite level is Michael Harris II. Harris produced the first multi-homer game of his career on Sunday. Harris II and fellow 2022 rookie star Julio Rodriguez sharing the same field over the weekend in Seattle had to be a treat for fans. However, the level that Harris II is playing at offensively currently is not just impressive for a rookie. He legitimately has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the past six weeks.

Since August 1st, Michael Harris II is tied for 2nd in fWAR among MLB position players. He is 4th in wOBA, 3rd in OPS, and 3rd in wRC+. Only Aaron Judge has produced more value among position players over this time frame. While Spencer Strider has been incredible since joining the Braves rotation, if Harris II continues this level of production throughout September, the NL ROY race could be one of the biggest award debates in recent history.

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