The Braves have surrendered an MLB-leading 49 runs in just eight games, and their team ERA sits at 5.58, which ranks 28th in Major League Baseball — ahead of only Washington and Kansas City. That’s not where the Braves expected to be after the first week-plus of the season, especially after all the high-quality additions to their bullpen. So far, things just haven’t worked out for the group, but for several reasons, there’s plenty of reason for optimism.
As far as the starters go, the lockout has clearly had a tremendous effect on them. They could barely get stretched out because of the shortened Spring Training. Take Ian Anderson, for example; he was only able to pitch eight innings before his first start of the season. There’s no way anyone should be expected to toss even five high-quality innings with that little preparation. Inconsistencies from pitchers early in the season are the norm, and the shortened Spring only makes things more difficult.
The other thing that has been affecting the Braves’ arms early on is luck. They have allowed some of the softest contact in the league so far, yet they haven’t benefitted from it.
The 3 lowest hard hit% allowed in baseball and the team ERA
1. Dodgers: 30% — 2.77 ERA
2. Astros: 31% — 1.69 ERA
3. Braves: 31.9% — 5.58 ERA
— Stephen (@b_outliers) April 15, 2022
Now hard-hit % isn’t the end-all, be-all of stats. If your pitchers are consistently getting behind in counts and walking batters, which has been a problem for the Braves this season, they will give up runs no matter what.
However, this is a promising sign about what to expect going forward. Soft contact will eventually end up leading to run prevention, as you can see from the results of the Dodgers and Astros. Once the Braves’ pitchers shake off the cobwebs and the luck shifts in their favor, this staff will begin to look like the dominant one we all expected to start the season.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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