Sorry for the lack of a recap of yesterday’s game. By scoring 11 runs, the Braves equalled their run total for the previous five games combined, and had their greatest offensive outburst since August 8. Today, their offense was much more like what we’ve been used to, as the Braves scored just two runs in regulation and finally scored a third to win it in the 10th inning. But the pitching held firm and the Braves secured the sweep with their sixth win in their past seven games. Sure, IWOTM, but it’s awfully nice to send Chipper home from Queens with one last sweep.
Aside from the outburst yesterday, the Braves scored 3 runs in games 1 and 3, and that’s about what we’ve come to expect from this sputtering lineup. (The heroes — Uggla and McCann — were not what you’d expect, nor would you expect Chipper to sign off from New York by going 0-7 with two walks, but more on that later.)
Here’s the Braves’ team ERA by month and OPS by month (won-loss record by month):
April: 3.94 ERA, .733 OPS (14-9)
May: 4.48 ERA, .728 OPS (14-15)
June: 3.53 ERA, .728 OPS (13-12)
July: 3.37 ERA, .741 OPS (18-8)
August: 2.94 ERA, .699 OPS (15-14)
September: 2.20 ERA, .683 OPS (7-2)
The Braves’ pitching staff is simply devastating right now. Since July 1, the Braves’ team ERA is 3.01 and runs allowed average is 3.34, which means that if the offense averages 3 runs a game from here on out, then the Braves will basically break even, and if the offense can manage four a game then we’ve got a chance to do some serious damage.
The team is well-positioned because many of the team’s best players were not on the squad in the early months. Of the top four starting pitchers, only Tim Hudson and Mike Minor were in the rotation to start the year, and Minor sucked for most of the first half before turning it around. Paul Maholm has pitched about as well as he possibly could have, and Kris Medlen has been better than anyone could possibly have imagined.
Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons is scheduled to rejoin the team tomorrow. And while Paul Janish had played truly sparkling defense, his offense has been so brutal that he has been literally worth 0 fWAR and -0.1 rWAR. With Simmons in the middle of the infield, the Braves’ pitching staff is likely to be stingier than ever, but the offense won’t give up quite as many outs.
The most important offensive development of the Mets series, though, was this:
Uggla and McCann
Rest of the Braves
I don’t know if the Braves pitchers can continue to allow fewer than 3 runs a game, and I don’t know if Dan Uggla and Brian McCann can keep hitting.