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Justin Upton and his Braves have had no trouble hitting the long ball.
Last 10 games: 4-6
Biggest Strength: Pitching
Since the days of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, the Braves have been acclaimed for their stellar pitching staffs.
This year is no different.
Despite all of the talk about Justin Upton and the Braves’ ability to hit the ball out of the park, the pitching staff—both starters and relievers—has kept the club atop the National League East.
The bullpen, led by closer Craig Kimbrel, has been especially good. In addition to giving up the fewest hits (93) in the league, the Braves’ bullpen ranks second in ERA (2.84) and third in WHIP (1.18).
The Braves starting rotation is hovering near the middle of the pack in most categories. But that should improve once rookie Julio Teheran gains more experience and Brandon Beachy completes his recovery from Tommy John Surgery.
Biggest Weakness: Offense
Sure, the Braves lead the league with 52 home runs. But does that mean anything? The Giants won the 2012 World Series after finishing last in the league with 103 home runs.
And besides the long ball onslaught, the Braves offense has not been overly impressive.
They rank 11th in the league with only 312 hits. And those 52 home runs have only resulted in 167 runs and 162 RBI, which both rank fifth in the league.
The most startling statistic is the 361 strikeouts, which by far ranks most in the league. The next closest team, the Washington Nationals, have struck out only 319 times.
The Braves will continue to strike out.
Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton will all finish the season with sub-.250 batting averages. Justin Upton will not see many good pitches to hit as the season unfolds, leaving Brian McCann and Andrelton Simmons the responsibility of carrying the offense.
The Nationals will win the division, and the Braves will battle for a wild-card slot.