The Braves rotation has been the talk of the town. Following their disappointing four-game split in Pittsburgh against the lowly Pirates, the Braves had the second-worst ERA from their starting pitchers since the All-Star break.
There weren’t just one or two culprits, either; every one that toed the rubber to begin the game seemed to be in a funk. Spencer Strider turned in the worst start of his career up in Pittsburgh. Max Fried couldn’t make it past the fourth inning. Charlie Morton seemed to forget how to throw a strike (which still hasn’t changed to this point). Yonny Chirinos has been a potato ever since the Braves picked him up off waivers, and Bryce Elder — after a storybook first half of the season — began to regress severely. However, a couple of series against the teams from New York — two of the worst offenses in baseball — is exactly what the doctor ordered for this group.
Morton wasn’t great against the Mets. In fact, he was as bad as I have ever seen him control-wise, walking a career-high seven batters, but the Mets could never take advantage, and he was able to complete five scoreless frames. Allan Winans and Spencer Strider then combined for 14 shutout innings the following day in a doubleheader. To begin this week, Max Fried bounced back with a strong six innings against the Yankees, which was followed by one of the best pitching performances the Braves have had in years yesterday, courtesy of Bryce Elder. The 24-year-old held the Yankees scoreless through seven innings, allowing just one hit on the way to a 5-0 victory.
The Braves offense is historically good. They might just be the best offense ever to play the game of baseball, and that’s not hyperbole. They lead the league in nearly every stat, and their wRC+ as a team is up there with the 1927 Yankees. This lineup alone has the potential to carry the team to another World Series, but they shouldn’t have to.
For much of the season, the Braves have had one of the better rotations in baseball, and that’s without their ace in Max Fried, who is back, and most importantly, looks healthy again. There is no reason for Atlanta’s starting pitching to be struggling the way it has for most of the last month. Pitchers go through slumps just like hitters, and sometimes all that is needed is a little get-right game against some piss-poor lineups. This stretch against the teams from New York couldn’t have come at a better time (who would have thought we’d be saying that at the beginning of the season). Hopefully, it is a sign of things to come, because when the Braves are pitching well, they are nearly impossible to beat.
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