Nobody has been better than the Braves bullpen at preserving leads

MLB: JUL 31 Angels at Braves

The Braves offense has its fair share of problems, even if they’ve been better of late. The outfield needs bolstering, shortstop could be upgraded, and the guys at the top of the lineup need to start performing like All-Stars consistently again. Yet, the Braves remain one of the best teams in baseball due to the best pitching staff they’ve hade in two decades.

The rotation gets all of the love. Chris Sale is the leading candidate for the NL Cy Young award. Reynaldo Lopez is right behind him, and Max Fried might be better than them all. Charlie Morton is the most proven fourth starter across the entire league, while Spencer Schwellenbach seems to be coming into his own to round out the group. It’s an ultra-talented rotation that offers a little bit of everything, but the bullpen has been just as — if not more — dominant, especially when it comes to preserving leads.

If the Braves get a lead at any point in the final three innings of a game, the opposing team can essentially pack their bags and leave the ballpark.

On the season, the Braves bullpen ranks 4th in xFIP, 4th in FIP, and 5th in ERA in the league, and they are very close to being first in each category. The back end of the bullpen has only gotten stronger with A.J. Minter coming back from injury after missing a month, but what really makes this group special — much like the rotation — is the depth.

Grant Holmes has arrived in Atlanta and has been spectacular. Dylan Lee, Jesse Chavez, and Aaron Bummer are pitching like they belong in Texas for the All-Star Game, and even the rookie Daysbel Hernandez has been lights out when called upon. The Braves bullpen has been so good that they had no problem sending Dylan Lee, who boasts an even 2.00 ERA over 36 innings this season, down to Gwinnett so they could utilize a six-man rotation heading into the All-Star break.

If Alex Anthopoulos can help ease the concerns of the offense in Atlanta at the trade deadline, the Braves pitching staff is talented enough to lead this club back to the World Series.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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