The Atlanta Braves are in contention in a mediocre National League. There is no dominant team in the NL this season.
Atlanta is in a fight with the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East. The Braves have been a streaky team this season due to countless circumstances.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez has not filled out a consistent lineup card all season due to an assortment of injuries. First baseman Freddie Freeman was out for some time with eye issues and a finger injury. Chipper Jones was placed on the DL in mid may due to a calf injury, and Brian McCann missed a week during the same stretch with flu-like symptoms.
The lineup is healthy now and includes Jason Heyward, who has owned the month of June, hitting at a .370 clip with six home runs and 14 RBI. He was named player of the week from June 18-25.
The starting rotation is the concern for the Braves. They are tenth in the NL in ERA (4.01). Brandon Beachy, who was the Braves' best pitcher with a 2.00 ERA, suffered a partial tear in his pitching elbow, underwent Tommy John surgery and will be out until the middle of 2013. Jair Jurrjens, who was demoted to AAA Gwinnett earlier this season, is back with the big club and pitching better. Mike Minor (6.14 ERA) and Randall Delgado (4-8) are going through growing pains of their own.
Here are five starting pitchers the Braves should consider acquiring before the July 31 trade deadline.