PITTSBURGH, PA - What have we learned about the 2013 Braves through 14 games? Well, to steal a famous line from Dennis Green, they are who we thought they are. This lineup has some serious thump and speed. They will also strike out…a lot. BJ Upton and Jason Heyward are off to slow starts, but both are starting to feel like they’re coming out of their early season struggles. Since moving to the leadoff spot, BJ Upton has put some pretty good swings on the ball and seems like he’s getting more and more comfortable. Jason Heyward hit about 700 feet worth of fly ball outs last weekend in Washington, and came up with a huge solo home run to give the Braves a 3-2 lead in the 8th inning on Monday.
But, for as much as the offense steals the spotlight (and rightfully so), the Braves rotation has been better than advertised. Tim Hudson out dueled Stephen Strasburg last Saturday, Paul Maholm is off to a 3-0 start, and despite some early struggles, Julio Teheran looks to be settling in nicely. We all know about Kris Medlen’s “bulldog mentality” and young lefty Mike Minor has been outstanding since the middle of last June. Through 14 games, the Braves boast the best ERA (1.77) in the Majors, holding opponents to just a .206 batting average.
The Braves bullpen has also been outstanding, allowing none of their 14 inherited runners to score. We all know Eric O’Flaherty is one of the best set up men in baseball, but everyone Fredi has called upon from the pen has done their jobs and given this team a chance to win every game. So, where can the Braves go from here? Well, Freddie Freeman should return next week, Brian McCann is on the mend, and oh yeah, Brandon Beachy is expected back by late June. If this team can avoid the injury bug, there’s no reason this team can’t play DEEP into October.
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