Atlanta Braves' Offense Surging, Pitching Declining: Do They Need a New Focus?
For the first half of the season, the Atlanta Braves struggled mightily to produce offense, and were carried by their amazing pitching.
In this half of the season, so far, their pitching has been declining, and their offense has been surging.
This is not necessarily a negative thing; however, it seems it is now the Braves' pitching that needs assistance.
Certain hitters have been heating up recently, and producing much more than expected, and certain pitchers have been giving up more runs than expected.
For a basic overview of the Braves' performance:
Pre All-Star BA—.237.
Post All-Star BA—.270.
Pre All-Star ERA—3.11
Post All-Star ERA—4.11.
Obviously, there has been a change in performance by the Braves.
Their batting average has been raised by an impressive .033, and their ERA has been raised by an unfortunate 1.00.
The Braves' offensive surge can in part be credited to the addition of both Michael Bourn and Jose Constanza.
The trade for Bourn has certainly helped, and while his .250 BA with the Braves is not the most impressive, it is certainly better than many of his teammates.
Jose Constanza's impressive offense has been a very pleasant surprise. He is so far hitting .407 in 27 at bats.
All year, fans have been waiting for Dan Uggla to contribute his share of offense, which has finally begun to occur. Since the All-Star break, he is hitting .346, with eight home runs and 20 RBI.
Also, Freddie Freeman is making an impressive case for Rookie of the Year, with his batting average all the way up to .300, and .395 post All-Star break.
The only major offensive disappointment is Jason Heyward, whose pathetic pre All-Star average of .226 has dropped to an even more pathetic .200, post All-Star.
So, with all of this great offensive production, one would assume the Braves are closing in on the Phillies' division lead.
However, this is not the case.
Since the All-Star break, the Braves are only 11-10, which is owed to the decline in their pitching performance.
After putting up an amazing pre All-Star ERA of 1.87, the Braves' ace, Jair Jurrjens, has an ERA of 6.26 after the All-Star break.
Derek Lowe, while his 4.30 ERA before the All-Star break was not impressive, has an even less impressive ERA of 7.97 after the All-Star break.
Brandon Beachy had a 3.21 ERA in the first half of the season, and a 4.30 ERA in the second half.
Hanson had a 2.44 ERA in the first half of the season, and a 6.56 ERA in the second half.
The only starter who is an exception to this curious decline is Tim Hudson, whose ERA has improved from a pre All Star of 3.57, to a post All-Star of 2.06.
Overall, the Braves' new style of playing seems as though it should end up being very helpful to them.
If their hitting continues to perform as well as it currently is, the Braves should be in good enough shape to hold their wild card lead.
And because their pitching has already proved itself to be amazing, hopefully a few pitchers just happened to have concurring bad outings, and will pick themselves up enough to assist their team in the playoff race.
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