The Braves have won 5 games in a row, and there’s no reason to think that this recent success is going to flatten out. Atlanta is almost a certain lock to make the playoffs; they’re 8.5 games ahead in the wild card race with only a little over 30 games left to be played. But it seems, at least over the past 10 years or so, that when the Braves get into the postseason they can’t make it past the division series. This years club though, in my oppinion is the best team the Braves have had in a long time. Every element is covered with these 25 players: We have great speed with Bourn and Jose Constanza. We have power with Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman, and Brian McCann. Chipper Jones dosen’t have the power he had earlier in his career, but he’s still capable of hitting a homerun, and is a solid contributor on a nightly bases. When you have Chipper Jones as your 6th hitter, you have a good offense. We have a great pitching staff led by Tim Hudson, who has been phenomenal lately. Tommy Hanson’s arm needed a rest and hopefully when he comes back from the DL he’ll be the guy who won 10 games in the first half of the season. Jair Jurrjens has struggled since the all-star break but he rebounded with 6 1/3 scoreless innings tonight against the Cubs. Brandon Beachy has been great in his last 3 or 4 starts as well. Even Derek Lowe has pitched really well in 2 of his last 3 starts. So we have 5 good pitchers, and we really only need 3 in the postseason. We have the best bullpen in Major League Baseball. O’Flaherty, Venters, and Kimbrel are better than anyone is the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. The Braves got a big lift from Arodys Vizcaino who came up from AAA and is doing a fine job from the bullpen; if there was one weakness for the club, it’s that we didn’t have a good right handed releiver; Vizcaino takes care of that problem. Plus Peter Moylan will be back very soon. We even have a good bench; Erik Hinske and Brooks Conrad can give you power off the bench, and David Ross is the best backup catcher in baseball. With a team that has so much depth, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be able to get past the division series this year. If we’re able to get to the championship series we’re probably going to have to play the Phillies. That I think would be a great series. They have their 4 aces (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt), but we have really good pitching to match them. I think both teams offenses are pretty even, and I think the Braves have the better bullpen. I honestly couldn’t give a guess as to who would that series; but I can say that it would be a great series and the Braves would have just as good of a chance as the Phillies.
Dan Uggla: Dan Uggla hit his 30th homerun of the year tonight, and shows no signs of cooling off. He’s absolutely crushing the baseball. I don’t think the Braves could have done much in the playoffs if Uggla wouldn’t have started hitting. That left a big hole in the middle of the lineup when he was struggling so badly. Hitting between McCann and Freeman provides protection for both of them, and gives Uggla plenty of RBI chances. We’re going to need him to continue hitting well if we’re going to play deep into October.
-Here are Braves Players Quotes after tonights win against the Cubs, courtesy of the AJC: http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2011/08/23/braves-quotes-after-mondays-win-against-cubs/
-Freddie Gonzalez sais that Jose Constanza’s injury isn’t serious and he’ll be back in the lineup in a couple of days.
-Mike Minor starts for Atlanta tomorow (Game Time-8:00 EST)
Thanks for Reading.