Braves pitching staff producing impressive numbers

Evaluating the Braves through their first 20 games, I wrote “there isn’t a lot to like about this team right now.”   My opinion has obviously changed as they have won 12 of the 16 games that have followed.  In fact, I’d even say there wasn’t a whole lot to dislike during three of the four losses (blew two late leads to Cards and allowed baseball gods to frustrate them with Kyle Kendrick again) they’ve incurred during this span.

One of the keys to the Braves’ resurgence has been their starting rotation which has gone 9-1 with  a 2.06 ERA in the past 17 games.   The starters rank first in the National League with a 2.90 ERA.  Philadelphia’s celebrated rotation ranks second with  a 3.14 ERA.

It’s probably far too early to even mention this, but I will anyhow.  The 2.91 ERA produced in 1968 was the best mark produced by starting pitchers in Braves history.    Of course pitching was so good everywhere that season that Major League Baseball opted to lower the pitcher’s mound in 1969.

The second-best ERA posted by Braves’ starters was the 2.95 ERA produced by the 1992 club.   A few months after this mark was posted, John Schuerholz still had the urge to sign some guy named Greg Maddux.

As we come back to this year,  it’s obvious it hasn’t just been the starters who have subdued opponents throughout the season.  The Braves pitching staff’s 2.85 ERA also leads the NL.    During this strong 16-game surge the staff has posted a 2.35 ERA and recorded 124 strikeouts in a span of 535 at-bats.

That last strikeout stat was thrown out there simply because the swing-and-miss Nats have arrived to begin a three-game series in Atlanta tonight.

While winning just six of their past 14 games, the Nationals have hit .221 and struck out 124 times in 444 at-bats.   Yes the Adam Dunn-less Nats have struck out once every 3.58 at-bats during this 14-game stretch.

As they attempt to right themselves they have been given the task of facing Tim Hudson in tonight’s series opener.   Coming off his masterful one-hit shutout of the Brewers, Hudson will be attempting to extend his mastery of the Nationals.

Are you impressed when you read:   Hudson is 11-2 with a 1.88 ERA in 19 starts against the Nationals?   Or is it more impressive to see:  Hudson has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 19 starts against the Nationals?

Hudson have the luxury of having Alex Gonzalez playing shortstop tonight.   But Gonzalez doesn’t seem concerned about the minor left groin strain that led him to exit Sunday night’s game.  After taking batting practice Tuesday evening, he said he thinks he could return to the lineup Wednesday.

In other ailment-related news, Derek Lowe played catch today and had no problems with the blister that developed on his right foot with his no-hit bid still intact Friday night.

Lowe will start Thursday night’s series finale against the Nationals and Brandon Beachy will start Friday night’s series opener against the Phillies.    This means Jair Jurrjens will be pitching with an extra day of rest when he returns to the mound Saturday.


Bravo – your point about Heyward in the 2 hole is well taken. When the move first took place – both he and McClouth seemed to flourish. If you will recall, Heyward was slumping. We discussed how everyone was pitching him inside. They still are.

Here’s a thought – might be time to consider moving Prado to 2, as he is not setting the wood on fire either.


Nate made an error. Time to wake up Bill.

I’d like to point out that 2 other people did too. Well, Freemans just got reversed. And now it doesn’t matter, homerun Werth.

Going to say something controversial here – will anyone else agree with me that Freddie Freeman at this point is a better hitter than Jason Heyward? AND that perhaps the year in AAA was invaluable to him?

I don’t necessarily agree, but Heyward needs to step it up big time. Starting now. Wasn’t everybody crying about putting him 2nd or 3rd, an as soon as we do, it only makes McLouth look like an All-Star again.

… and Jeff Franceour is a better hitter than both of them…


Well McMorons. McCanofCorn drops a routine fly and costs the Braves the game. And he has returned to “All Star” form? The guy had one good day in two years with the Braves and you guys were ready to proclaim him cured. I knew I just had to wait until he returned to typical Nate form(1 hit in his last 5 games). You guys are so obsessed with what I say, if you spent half as much time watching games as you did trying to get over on me you would realize that the juvenile rants don’t have anything to do with who can and can’t play the game and who is swinging the bat and why.

Is that why you redundantly criticize McLouth, Gonzalez, Chipper, QTip, and pretty much everybody but your man crush Brooks Conrad and Heyward?

Brandie I don’t even know how to respond to your comments. It would be like trying to explain Physics to a cat. You win the prize as Crown Prince of the Morons.

Wow Bill – you’re as predictable as a Jason Heyward grounder to second. We knew you’d come back and we knew when you’d come back.
Nate has had more that a “day” of success. McLouth has hit .396 with an 1.180 OPS and seven extra-base hits in 48 at-bats in the No. 8 spot. He’s also hitting in the top 10 in the league with RISP at .421 ahead of Andre Ethier.
Admitting you’re wrong is the first step.
You’re man crush Brooks Conrad makes 8 errors in one week and single handedly plays us out of the playoffs and you say tnothing. McClouth makes one error and your back from a week of fasting and bowing before the Brooksie shrine you’ve hand made in your room.

Can you say 1 for his last 16, as in a .062 average. Can you say hamfisted, no armed, horrible instincts in CF? Can you say The Brooks Conrad argument is so last year. Do you want to talk about this years team, rather than the crippled one in September? Talk about predictable, you take stats over a couple weeks and project the size of the universe. The “Golden One” over the last year is batting .231 and his defense is progressively worse. So tell me we have an option to keep McWhoopsItHitInMyGlove for only 10.65 Million at years end. Want to exercise or pay the 1.25M buyout? Come on all you Junior GM’s whats the call?

Bill doesn’t know how to respond to logic, what a surprise. His comments continues with school yard taunts, shock me twice oh shame on me! Bill, you realize we were talking about you because we enjoy mocking you, right? Bravo, high five on the McLouth stats. Only Bill would argue with physical results.

I say, give Brooks a chance. He almost hit that ball outta the park and tie the game up last night. I didn’t get to see the game since I had to work, but listening on the radio, it sounded like it was only about 2 feet from going out. And I have a question for Mark to ask Heyward…is his thumb injury from last year flaring up or something? Last year, we kept hearing about how he knew to work the count and how smart a baseball player he was. Then he tried to cover when he was hurt and his numbers took a plunge before he had to DL. Now, I’m sure half of the reason he seems to be struggling is because the league had a year to get a look at him and figure out how to pitch to him. My question is, if he’s such a damn smart ballplayer, why the hell hasn’t he adjusted too? Isn’t that what our hitting coach is supposed to be helping with? So what’s the problem? Freeman, while being dynamite on defense, is coasting I think right now on the league’s unfamiliarity with him and I don’t want what is happening to Heyward now to start on Freddie. So come on, is Heyward hurt or is he starting to become a new Andruw Jones circa 2008 where he was too stubborn to listen to adjustments and eventually became the easiest out in the lineup ahead of the pitcher? I read that Bowman had said that he changed agents…thank God it wasn’t Boras at least. Then I would have assumed the problem must have come from there with his snake oil.

On another matter, as much as I enjoy the eternal arguement of Mancrush vs Stat numbers, I think both sides of this arguement need to take a swig of brew and a deep breath here. We’re on the same side, we all want these guys to perform at All Star levels to bring us back to the pennant and WS. Any chance of you guys burying the tomahawk between yall and start aiming it at the true enemies of the Braves?

Shocking Bill returns as soon as nate has a bad game! Did you see the day nate went 8 for 8 Bill?

“you take stats over a couple weeks and project the size of the universe. ”
Bill – aren’t you the one who took Conrad’s minor league career numbers and projected them to something ridiculous like 25 – 30 homeruns and 90+ rbi’s if he played ever day last year? Talk about using numbers to project the size of the universe…
Look – it’s clear to everyone here that if a player is in your heart, you will defend him to the end. If he is on your bad side – you will never give him credit when it might be dude… Frank Wren, Nate MCClouth, it doesn’t matter. Wren has rebuilt this team. He’s made mistakes along the way (Kawakami), but he’s responsible for our pitching staff. McClouth went through the gutter and is on his way out of it. Any fan would be pulling for him… and that’s what we love about you. It’s what makes this thread so entertaining from time to time.

I agree. It’s amusing to see how many laughs I get out of Bills tough guy routine, not to mention his ignorance.

…..and as usual I called it. (the awakening of Bill)

Almost as predictable as the fall of McDribbler

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