By: John Wickham
The Braves beside a minor hiccup against the Phillies Cliff Lee have looked pretty damn good. Right now they are 11-1 with a 3.5 game lead on the next team in the division. They have been led by a pitching staff that has a major league best 1.82 ERA and the bullpen has been even better with a miniscule 1.30 ERA. The offense has been bombing homeruns having 20 in the team’s first 12 games. Right now they have the best run differential in the league at +39.
The pitching staff has been led by its veterans Paul Maholm and Tim Hudson. Paul Maholm has not let up a run in his 3 starts, continuing his Spring Training dominance. Besides his first start Huddy has pitched like this team’s no. 1 starter. Medlen has been a little up and done in his first two starts and has 6 walks in his 12 innings pitched. Minor has looked good, giving up only 1 run in his first 13 innings. Julio Teheran has not been able to continue his Spring Training dominance and has given up 9 runs in his first 11 innings but the team has been able to come back and win both of them. In his past start he gave up his runs in the first 2 innings but then shut them out in his final 4 innings of work and only allowed 2 walks the rest of the way.
The offense has been led by Justin Upton and has gotten contributions from some unlikely people in Ramiro Pena and Evan Gattis. Justin Upton has a major league leading 7 HRs so far. Ramiro has 1 HR and 6 RBI and has been instrumental in winning 3 games, two against the Cubs and one against the Nationals. Evan Gattis has 4 HRs and with both Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman out has taken the starting catcher spot and the cleanup spot in the lineup, respectively. The great third base battle in the spring has been able to continue in the regular season with Freddie Freeman out. Chris Johnson is playing a lot of 1st base. He is batting .405 with 1 HR. Juan Francisco is batting .273 with 1 HR. Both are playing about average defense.
And right now this offense has not been clicking on all cylinders. Simmons is batting .211, Heyward is batting .103 B.J. is batting .163. Dan Uggla is batting only .171 but has an OBP of .320. We might not see everyone hitting hot at the same time but you definitely need a couple of guys. And we are getting that right now. It’s real early in the season so I’m not too worried but it would be really cool to see this offense with its firepower all hot at the same time.