By: John Wickham
The Atlanta Braves clinched their first division title since 2005. A lot has changed since then but not the questions about the Braves advancing in the playoffs. The last time the Braves won a playoff series was way back in 2001.
The Braves have won the season series against all the possible playoff teams. The LA Dodgers 5 games to 2. The STL Cardinals 4 games to 3. The PIT Pirates 4 games to 3. The CIN Reds 4 games to 3. So if they can beat the team in the regular season they should be able to beat the team in the postseason, right? Not necessarily. They played the Dodgers and never faced Clayton Kershaw. They played the Pirates and never saw Francisco Liriano. But they might face Mat Latos or Homer Bailey of the Reds or A.J. Burnett of the Pirates and they were pretty successful against them.
The Braves struggle against the elite pitchers. They are a combined 6-14 with 194 strikeouts in 173 2/3 innings against top-of-the rotation pitchers. They played very well against team’s 3rd and 4th rotation guys but they won’t see too many of those in the postseason.
They also do not have a true ace in their rotation and they are lacking of any postseason experience between them. The rotation is setting up for Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, and Julio Teheran as the top 3 with possible Alex Wood, Paul Maholm or Freddie Garcia as the 4th pitcher. The only start by their top 3 was by Medlen in last season’s NL Wildcard game against the Cardinals.
Even with all that said, it’s a new season and the stats don’t mean anything. What happened in the regular season, happened in the regular season. In the postseason, players can write a new chapter and make themselves a hero.