Back in the day when the Braves were on national television every night, were owned by a flamboyant cable television tycoon, featured a bevy of superstar names, and won the division every single year… there was no shortage of national press aimed in the Braves’ direction. These days, however, the Braves tend to fly a bit under the radar. Maybe that’s why so few in national sports media seemed to have noticed…
The Braves are back.
Do you remember the days when the Braves threw top-of-rotation starters at opponents just about every single night? Those days are back. Remember the days when Atlanta combined timely hitting and superior defense with that pitching to down opponents with regularity? Those days are back.
The Atlanta Braves now hold the best record of any team in the National League since the all-star break (17-9). Since the break, the Braves are 3rd in the league in runs scored, 2nd in homeruns, and 4th in team batting average. Atlanta also leads in the league in “second half” team ERA (3.03).
In fact, Atlanta holds the best record of any team in the NL since June 28th (26-14). That’s a .650 win percentage. To put that in perspective, a .650 clip over a 162 games would translate to 105 wins. That’s how well the Braves have played over the last 40 games. And we’re not talking about an insignificant sample size. As a friend pointed out to me Tuesday night as we sat at “The Ted” and watched the Braves bang around the Nats… 40 games is a full quarter of a season.
Yet, as of August 13th, the ESPN Power Rankings say there are 13 MLB teams better than Atlanta. Really? I’ll take that bet.
The Braves have substantially upgraded fully HALF of their lineup, and baseball’s top prospect, Jason Heyward, might make his big league debut in September. Also, to what is already the league’s best pitching staff, the Braves will soon add Tim Hudson, who is slated to return from his “Tommy John” rehab later this month.
So while the Baseball Tonight folks yap endlessly about the Yankees, Red Sox, and Pedro’s return to the mound, the Braves will look to continue taking care of business. Though, another series win against the Phillies this weekend would certainly make the Braves harder to ignore. And I’m confident that another series win is the only thing on the minds of these resurgent Atlanta Braves.
Braves fans, are you excited yet?
Tags: 2009 Braves, Can the Braves Make the Playoffs, Postseason
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