As if the Braves’ offense was not potent enough, the addition of Ozzie Albies has made it nearly unstoppable.
Our own Jake Gordon mentioned it last week when he talked about how Atlanta’s star second baseman has gotten hot at the right time. At that point, Albies had slashed .379/.419/.655 in seven games back, which saw his average raise nearly .100 points, from .159 to .247, and he hasn’t slowed down since.
Now 13 games removed from the IL, Albies’ average is nearing .300 (.289), and his OPS sits at a healthy .843, up nearly .400 points since his stint on the IL. His power is back too over that stretch, smashing five home runs, and he has nine hits over his last five games. Albies is a man on a mission, and perhaps the most encouraging part about this stretch is that most of his damage has come from the left side.
For the season, Albies is hitting .324 with six homers — good for a .985 OPS — against right-handed pitchers, compared to a .200 average with no homers against lefties. That’s a far cry from last season when he hit an absurd .389 with a 1.099 OPS from the right side, which has always been his better side. Remember just last year, people called for him to abandon hitting lefty altogether, but he’s stuck with it and continued to improve his overall approach at the plate.
With Albies at full health, the Braves’ offense has turned into an unstoppable force. It’s not just impossible for opposing pitchers to find an easy out worth attacking; it’s become inevitable that they eventually step on a land mine, and Atlanta explodes for a crooked number. In the thirteen games with Albies back in the lineup, the Braves have scored 100 runs (7.7 runs per game).
Atlanta has the National League leader in batting average, who happens to be the frontrunner for the MVP award (Freddie Freeman). They have the man who leads the NL in home runs and RBIs (Marcell Ozuna), and another player who is second in the National League in homers (Adam Duvall). Not to mention, they have a catcher who is possibly having the best offensive season at his position (Travis d’Arnaud), and I haven’t even gotten to Ronald Acuña and Ozzie Albies yet.
This is a loaded offense from top to bottom that is hitting their stride at the right time. In the past two postseasons, the bats have been much quieter than they were during the regular season. Admittedly, the pitching is better in the playoffs, but I don’t think there are too many pitching staffs that can keep these guys quiet for an entire series. Atlanta’s offense can carry the load in October, and they will need to if they want to make a deep run in the postseason.