The Braves offense has been dynamic this season. It is also reminiscent of last year’s Houston Astros team. I remember thinking to myself, wow these guys can put up runs like it is nothing. They’re gonna win it all.
It is a little premature to say the same about this young Braves team, but there is little question that this high-powered offense is here to stay. One of the biggest reasons they have been so successful this season is because they are one of the worst mismatches in baseball for opposing lefty starters.
As a collective unit, the Braves have hit for a .284 average with a .806 OPS. In games against lefty starters they are 5-3. But they have truly been way more dominant against them than that record would suggest.
It all starts with clean-up hitter Nick Markakis. Fans in opposing ballparks are likely confused at first glance when they see that Markakis is the Braves clean up hitter. But it could not make any more sense. Markakis is one of the best hitters with runners in scoring position in baseball. He also has three guys who can get on base in front of him in Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Freddie Freeman.
Markakis has been unforgiving to lefty pitchers, hitting .404 against them this season with 3 homers and 12 RBI. In a contract year and likely back at full strength from surgery at the beginning of his time with the Braves, Markakis is having one of the best stretches of his career.
Ozzie Albies has been even better.
He has hit .450 against opposing southpaws this season, with 4 homers and 7 RBI. He is already a top second baseman in the game.
It has been a collective effort, though. Here are the averages for the Braves against lefties:
Kurt Suzuki: .333
Dansby Swanson: .333
Freddie Freeman: .286
Ronald Acuna Jr.: .286
Preston Tucker and Ender Inciarte have struggled against lefties. However, Inciarte has been historically good against left-handed pitching and has just gotten off to a slow start.
Put it all together, and the Braves are just a nightmare for left-handed pitchers. It was on display once again last night in Tampa, and it will not be the last time. This offense is dynamic and a pleasure to watch on a nightly basis.