I read another preview of this upcoming series with interest. I suppose I should say that specifically, I read it with a small degree of interest and some amusement, when a part of the preview opined that the Braves don’t have any standout players right now, but only above-average players.
Look, I’m not looking to pick a fight, and everyone is obviously entitled to their own opinion, but I completely disagree – not with the above average part, but with the statement that Atlanta has no standouts. I think the Braves have several standout players, and you’ll get to see them all in the series against the Nationals.
The article mentioned that the Braves have a handful of players – Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, and Mike Minor, with around 3 wins of value. That’s all true, and I would add that the oft-maligned Chris Johnson is in that same company as well, although left out.
All of the aforementioned, plus CJ, are in my opinion “Standout” players. They stand out when I watch them play, stand out in the division, and standout for their teammates and fans. No, they are not a Yasiel Puig, but perhaps Puig is not them either! No, they don’t get the press he and some others do, but they are top-notch players I don’t need a calculator and some formulas to admire.
Okay, I’ve stepped down off my soapbox now and can continue with the preview. Let me continue in a more calm fashion by simply noting that the Nationals have little if any chance of making much of a run in the NL East division. The Atlanta Braves have handled them adroitly all year, and I’ll go ahead and predict a sweep in this series. Yeah, bold I know, but I think with Alex Wood, Mike Minor, and Julio Teheran scheduled to take the bump in the series, in that order, a sweep is not unimaginable. The Braves’ have handled Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez well enough this year already, and Taylor Jordan should be no real issue outside of the Braves’ lack of familiarity.
I’ll allow that the Nationals could take one of the games, but with the lead the Atlanta Braves have in the NL East now, and September looming on the horizon, I think the Braves will carry the same hunger they’ve had throughout the month of August into this series, and drive another nail into the proverbial coffin. Look for some standout pitching, standout hitting, and a standout series sweep.
Nationals: Taylor Jordan (1-3, 4.14 ERA)
Braves: Alex Wood ( 2-2, 2.78 ERA)
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 2.83 ERA)
Braves: Mike Minor (12-5, 2.87 ERA)
Nationals: Gio Gonzalez ((7-5, 3.42 ERA)
Braves: Julio Teheran ( 9-6, 3.08 ERA)