By: John Wickham
The Braves are 12-6 and lead the division by 1.5 games over the Washington Nationals. Everyone expected that, right? Well it might be true that many expected the Braves to lead the NL East race on April 21. The way they have done it is probably not the way most would have seen it coming.
Andrelton Simmons has flashed with the glove and arm, of course we saw that coming. What we didn’t see was that he wouldn’t strike out to start the season until his 52nd plate appearance. Freddie Freeman is hot. He has continued his torrid pace from last year. But did anyone expect him to 3rd in the majors in batting average, 2nd in on-base percentage and 1st in slugging?
Both B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla are barely hitting over the Mendoza line, .208 and .234 respectively, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In B.J.’s last 10 games he is hitting .256 with 3 extra base hits and 8 runs, 3 SBs and 6 walks. Dan Uggla’s last 10 games he has hit .243 with 3 extra base hits with 7 RBI and 4 walks. That doesn’t mean that we should start their All-Star campaigns but it is a far cry from where they were last season.
After losing Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen before the season started and Mike Minor for the first 3 weeks of the season who would have believed that the Braves would lead all of baseball in starter’s ERA with a 1.54. The Braves starters have thrown the 3rd most innings and also have the most complete games with 2 so far.
Ervin Santana and Julio Teheran have lead this team’s staff and the rest have followed suit. Julio Teheran pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout at Citizen’s Bank Park. The first time an opposing pitcher has done so against the Phillies. Ervin Santana started his Braves career by throwing 20 consecutive strikes to start the ballgame.
Freddie Garcia was swapped out with Aaron Harang just hours after he was let go by the Indians. And Harang has only put up an ERA of 0.70 and pitched over 25 innings in his 4 starts. He has twice carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning.
The Braves are right where they want to be: Leading the NL East and are getting healthier all the time. Mike Minor is expected to make is Braves debut later this week. Gavin Floyd is about 2-3 weeks away from his debut as well. I haven’t heard much about Jonny Venters as he is not expected back until late May, early June.