The one massive edge the Braves have going into the playoffs

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The Braves have had a season that can be described as nothing short of a rollercoaster in terms of player availability and player performance. Atlanta is going into the 2021 postseason without their most talented player in Ronald Acuña Jr. and one of the best players from the 2020 team in Marcell Ozuna. However, the Braves are going into this postseason with one advantage they didn’t have in 2020 — starting pitching.

While it hurts to be without Mike Soroka again, the Braves have much more depth this season. While they gave valiant performances at times, this team is unlikely to be starting AJ Minter, Bryse Wilson, and Kyle Wright in critical games this year. There’s the obvious three-headed monster — Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and newcomer Charlie Morton. All three of these guys have shown up in the playoffs, and even if there may be a lack of a defined fourth guy, these three will provide a lot of juice, and the Braves are going to need it.

 

Max Fried

The unquestionable ace of this staff, Max Fried, just posted one of the best second halves in recent memory. Kris Medlen posted an absurd 0.95 ERA over 19 games in the second half of 2012, but Fried’s 1.74 ERA is the second-best in history for the Braves in the second half. Having your ace red hot before the playoffs is a huge advantage, especially with the Braves starting the postseason on the road. Fried had a 2.82 ERA over 12.2 innings in the 2020 playoffs, and he spun a seven-inning gem against the Reds to help the Braves to a huge win in a thriller.

 

Ian Anderson

After sealing the division against the Phillies, Ian Anderson has shown that he is ready for the big moment. After posting a 1.95 ERA as a rookie down the stretch in 2020, Anderson showed his success was no fluke. He went into the postseason and absolutely dominated, posting a 0.96 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP over 18.2 innings. The Braves will need a repeat performance from Anderson, but I have no doubt he’ll answer the call.

 

Charlie Morton

As Chase and I have noted multiple times, Charlie Morton has pitched the last out of a World Series. Morton has pitched 61.1 postseason innings, by far the most on the Braves. He has only allowed a 3.83 ERA, but his games have been fairly boom or bust. For the Braves, he has probably been the most consistent starting pitcher in 2021. His veteran presence should be a very welcome addition.

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