Atlanta Braves: 5 Main Reasons They Can Still Overtake the Philadelphia Phillies

Jonah P DAnalyst IAugust 29, 2011

Atlanta Braves: 5 Main Reasons They Can Still Overtake the Philadelphia Phillies

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    The Atlanta Braves are currently six games back from the Philadelphia Phillies, with just about a month remaining in the regular season.

    While six games behind does appear to be far back, the division race is far from over.

    Both the Braves and the Phillies are nearly locked into the postseason; however, the winner of the division will have a large advantage once in the playoffs.

    The following slides will explain the five main advantages the Braves have over the Phillies, which will give them a chance to grab first place.

5. September Callups

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    The Phillies' farm system is good, but not nearly as good as the Braves'.

    While the Phillies have traded away two of their top prospects, the Braves have many top prospects waiting to be called up in just a few days.

    The Phillies' 40-man roster does contain a few names that could help their team in the playoff race, namely Domonic Brown.

    However, the Braves have multiple prospects who could make a great impact on their team's playoff race, which is an important advantage the Braves have.

    The most well-known names expected to be called up by the Braves are Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado, who have been dominant in the minor leagues.

    Once their prospects are called up, the Braves' bullpen should be very much improved, as well as their bench.

4. Injuries

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    The Braves roster is currently nowhere near its full potential.

    Many of their most important players have been on and off the DL throughout the entire season and mostly this month.

    Jair Jurrjens has made only one start since his return from the DL, and is still attempting to return to his ace form.

    Tommy Hanson is working in rehab, and should return to the lineup withing the next few weeks.

    Also, important hitters, such as Brian McCann, returned from the DL earlier this month.

    Once the Braves' team is completely intact, which it should be by mid-September, they will have a better chance to win important games at the end of the season.

3. Schedule

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    The Braves' schedule for the remainder of the season is very much in favor of them, while the Phillies' is not.

    Twenty of the Braves' last 29 games are against below-.500 teams, and three are against the Cardinals, who are unlikely to be above .500 by the time they play.

    The remaining six games are against the Phillies, which could be very much in favor of the Braves, as it gives them a chance to quickly close the gap in the standings.

    The Phillies' schedule is not nearly as easy as the Braves'.

    In the final 31 days of the season, the Phillies must play 33 games, more than half of which are against above-.500 teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers.

    The schedule of the two teams gives the Braves an advantage over the Phillies in the final games of the season.

2. Bullpen

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    The Braves' bullpen is, arguably, the best in baseball.

    The Braves hardly ever give up runs past the sixth inning, which gives them a great advantage over their opponents.

    In the bullpen, the Braves have the top Rookie of the Year candidate, Craig Kimbrel, who is perhaps the best closer in the league, with 40 saves and an ERA of 1.70.

    They also have Jonny Venters, who is perhaps the best setup man in the league, with a 1.33 ERA.

    As well as this ideal bullpen duo, the Braves have Eric O'Flaherty, with an ERA of 1.23, and Arodys Vizcaino, with an ERA of 1.86.

    Combined, these four pitchers have given up only seven runs since the All-Star break on 63.1 innings pitched.

1. Offense

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    Since the All-Star break, the Braves' offense has been performing among the best in baseball, which has been carrying the team through its injury struggles in the past month.

    During this half of the season, Chipper Jones is hitting .364, which is great for the team.

    While Jason Heyward has been struggling, Jose Constanza has done a great job in his position, hitting .341.

    Freddie Freeman is hitting .325 since the All-Star break, and Dan Uggla is hitting .336, with 15 home runs.

    Also, Michael Bourn has been playing just as well as expected, hitting .297 with eight stolen bases for the Braves.

    Overall, in the second half of the season, the Braves are hitting .264.

    If their offense continues to perform this well, the Phillies will have a challenge holding their place in the division.