Well so far every time I have done the daily notes feature we have come away with a win. So back off Fred and Lee, I’ve got this:
Despite this win, the Braves are still 4 games back on the Washington Nationals which really sucks. The team has been playing great ball for a pretty good run now (even the bullpen has been awesome) and it’s all for naught. Well technically it is for something but who how else was I supposed to slip the word “naught” into my writing. It was just inevitable.
But like I was saying both the Braves and the Nationals have been doing well of late, both teams going 7-3 in their last ten, and both teams going up against roughly the same schedule over the next month and a half. Like people have said from the beginning it’s really going to come down to how much of an impact losing Stephen Strasburg will have on the team.
Right now he is at 127 innings and with an average of 5.7 innings per start making the cut off right around 5 or 6 starts from now. You can see Washington has done a pretty good job limiting how deep he goes into games.
Regardless the Braves are doing well and even if they don’t get the division title, they still have a 3.5 game lead in the wild card(s) races, which leads me into our first discussion topic: the starting pitching.
Is the rotation good enough?
More importantly, do we have a solid number one starter in the rotation right now? The easy and most definitely correct answer is a blunt “no.”
Sorry Mr. Maholm, I’m sure you are a great guy and everything but you aren’t the ace everyone near Turner Field has been craving. And while that normally would be too big of an issue, with this new playoff format it could be critical.
Since there are now 2 wild card teams in each league, there will be a one game playoff between those two lucky teams with the winner moving on to the “real playoffs” and the loser simply going home. It really boils down to a tie breaker game.
As it stands right now the Braves and the Pirates would be facing off in this game and against Pittsburgh I actually like our odds. They do not have one stand out arm in their rotation and they have no pitcher with an ERA/FIP/xFIP under 3. That’s definitely good news when you are going up against a team in a one game playoff.
The bad news is that another team could end up playing the Bravos in that game, a team like, say… The Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers are currently 4.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, making it perfectly possible for them to get in. If we play the Dodgers you can bet Clayton Kershaw will be on the mound and you can bet the Dodgers will immediately have a huge advantage. Kershaw has some ridiculous numbers per usual, and it would be extremely likely for him to shut down even the Braves impressive offense. As the saying goes “Good pitching beats good hitting every day of the week.” Well, I’m not going to be the one to challenge that.
I’m not even sure who the Braves would use in that critical game at this time. It would have to be either Tim Hudson or Ben Sheets right? I mean I don’t want Mike Minor in that game, I don’t want Paul Maholm in that game, and I definitely don’t want Tommy Hanson in that game. If I was forced to set a preference list it would look like this:
- Tim Hudson
- Ben Sheets
- Kris Medlen
- Who really cares who’s next when I have a relief pitcher/spot starter third to pitch a one game playoff right?
So you can see, there could still be an issue with our starting rotation.
Is it possible that Dan Uggla is back?
If you didn’t watch the game last night then you probably didn’t realize that Captain Forearms managed to pump out 3 hits including the game winning 3 run double in the seventh inning. Here are some fun facts:
- The 3 hits he got last night are half of what his total number of hits are now in August (6 games) AND
- Those 3 hits are one third of his hit total in July (24 games).
That’s some pretty impressive stuff.
But seriously Dan Uggla coming back to form would be awesome for the Braves going down a pretty critical stretch. If he is able to start hitting and the rest of the team can just simply stay healthy, it will take loads of pressure off of the starting pitchers (something that might have been useful last year) and maybe make it possible to get into the playoffs this year.
That would be good right?