Braves look great. Picking each other up. Having fun. Timely hitting. Winning in all kinds of different ways. So much fun to watch. SO MUCH fun to watch. 3 games up on the Mets. Phillies FIVE back. I love winning baseball.
Those seven players across half a season are worth 42 million.
Our payroll for half a season = about 45 million.
So, in a way, talking in terms of market value, we’re paying 3 million dollars per half season for: Hudson, Jurrjens, Chipper, Lowe, Wagner, Saito, Moylan, McCann, Escobar, Ross, etc, etc… the whole team besides those seven.
Can’t Sleep. I shall now babble aimlessly about why I am more excited about this team than I’ve ever been before:
First, has it dawned on you guys why, exactly On Base Percentage + Bullpen + Bench has put us in such a dominant postion when our regular hitters are having off years and our pitching staff has been bested by the Mets and Phillies (until recently, now we are catching both of them)?
I think I have it: listen to how obvious it is.
The Braves high OBP is running up the pitch counts of the opposing starter. This isn’t new, but I mention it because it’s the foundation of the whole strategy. The other starter gets tired. You know all those singles we hit and don’t drive them in? Well, it sucks not to score, but those are extra batters for the starter to face and extra stress. A pitcher can only work out of so many jams before it wears him down. So, we break their starters. If we can’t break them by scoring, we just tire them out. See Strasburg, Johnson, Anibal. We sent them all packing an inning earlier than usual.
Once we are into the other team’s bullpen, unless that team is the Padres, we have two huge advantages, namely: better pitchers than them and better hitters than them. Because our bench is superior as well as our BP.
See how that works? The construction of both teams start to change late, and the Braves are running another A-team out there while other teams are turning to their B-guys. Thus, all these late wins.
But that’s just one way of expressing what we all knew intuitively: Braves scrap out wins late with a good bench and pen.
BUT, this is where it gets good. That’s only the HARD way for Atlanta to win games. The way to win without having the better starter every time, or the best line up.
But NOW… in the second half of this season, that all changes. Hanson looks poised to return to dominance. The kid is a quick study. Jurrjens looks poised to do the same. Hudson is already there, and look up his career July and August winning percentages, they are stunning.
Medlen is the freaking bees knees. And Lowe will give us a chance more times than not, and will make up for his layed eggs with a few dominating outings when the sinker is really falling.
In other words, this starting rotation is about to be what we envisioned. Make no mistake, it hasn’t been this far. We’ve gotten to first place WITHOUT a dominant Hanson or Jurrjens. But get ready for long strings of games where our starters give up 2 runs or less. That’s coming soon.
When Heyward gets back, and Escobar takes off, this team is going to explode offensively. I believe those two will be major productive in the second half.
We got where we are now with our OFFENSE, did you guys know that? When we took over first, we were way behind the Phils and Mets in pitching. But we had the most runs scored in the league. We’re going to get that offense BACK in the second half!
When everything settles, this team will have an A+ rotation, and A+ bullpen, a B+ offense, an A+ bench, and a C+ defense. This team will EXPLODE.
Even if ALL those things don’t happen all the way, I think most of those things will happen most of the way. So, maybe Heyward is somewhere between his April dominance and his June slump. Hanson lays maybe 2 more eggs this year. Prado and Hudson regress 10% or so. We have lots of breathing room to absorb those blows.
Braves will win the NL East by 7 games unless Mets get Lee. If the Mets get Lee, Braves will win the NL East by 3 games.
“Braves will win the NL East by 7 games unless Mets get Lee. If the Mets get Lee, Braves will win the NL East by 3 games.” That made me laugh out loud, Bub. When I read the first half of that sentence, I didn’t think the second half would end that way.
And kind of uncanny riff on the starting rotation. We’ve planned that as our Long Ball for tonight’s show.
Ahhhh, five all stars. Am I the only one who feels the validation of the Braves’ return to relevance just went up a big notch?
I’m proud for all of them, but especially for Prado and Hudson. Votto not making it shows that deserving to be there doesn’t always get you there. So I’m thrilled that both of our super-deserving guys made it. I hope they fix the selection system soon.
How about Omar. I think it is the most amazing thing that a utility player made the team on his clutchness. So great that Charlie Manuel picked him. Disappointed for Glaus but his comeback player of the year award is in the mail.