Braves Progress Report

Lately, it seems like the Atlanta Braves are wobbling between a winning streak and a losing spasm.

That’s because the Braves have lost some close games in-between decisive victories. They went 2-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and before that lost 1-2 against the Oakland A’s, a struggling team that’s 12-49 and .197 in the standings. There’s a reason why they played Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” over the PA after they beat the Braves in game 1 because it must have been a revelation to them to beat a top-seed team like the Braves.

That was a disappointing series.

But despite that embarrassing series and other previous losses, the Braves are doing better as a team and the stats bear this out.

Last year, the Braves weren’t in the toilet, but they weren’t as good as today. In 2022, the Braves were 8.5 games behind the New York Mets, with a .509 percent average. They won 28 games and lost 27.

Now look at today. The Braves won 35 games and lost 24. That’s seven more victories than last year when they were on a five-game winning streak. They are currently at .593 percent average, a lot better than last year’s numbers. Their next closest competition this year is Miami Marlins, 3.5 games behind the Braves, while the Mets are even farther behind at 5.5 games.

So the stats this year look very good for the Braves. In fact, only three other MLB teams have better records than the ATL Boys: Tampa Bay (.689 PCT), Texas (.655), and Baltimore (.627).

What’s keeping the Braves afloat right now is their hitting-and-run production. ESPN says the team ranks 5th among MLB teams in runs, while 10th in batting averages. In pitching, they are 4th with a total 3.66 earned run average, but they are also 11th in quality starts.

The bats may have gone quiet on some games this season, but as Eddie Rosario‘s devastating ninth-inning grand slam against the Diamondbacks proved last night, the Braves are more than capable of batting in key runs when they need it. Pitching has been solid also, but the team needs better results from a few of its starters like the returning Mike Soroka, who just rejoined the Braves after recovering from an injury in 2020. The bullpen, which has cost the team wins by giving up runs late in games, needs to improve.

If the Braves keep up what they are doing now, they should have no problems getting to at least the playoffs. Their hitting and pitching should serve them well going into the season, especially if they can get better production from more of their starters and get the bullpen into better shape. Continued clutch scoring like last night’s wouldn’t hurt ether.