Friday, April 22, 2005

One nice thought about the Braves

Yes, they didn't score an earned run in 18 innings in Washington against two average pitchers in a hitter's park, but the pitching is still good. Thinking back to the Braves team that actually experienced post-season success, the '95 Braves finished 9th in the league in runs scored. If you think we can't win with Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi prominently featured, recall that the Braves win the World Series with Mike Devereaux winning the NLCS MVP, as well as Jeff Blauser (OPS of .660) and Mark Lemke (OPS of .681) in the middle infield. Marquis Grissom and his .693 OPS was patrolling centerfield. We gave 180 ABs to Rafael Belliard and his incomprehensibly low .499 OPS. (He also started the entire World Series because of an injury to Jeff Blauser.)

Correlation doesn't equal causation and it might be that the Braves winning the World Series had nothing to do with their weak offense. On the other hand, maybe playing post-season style baseball all year - low-scoring games in which pitching and defense were critical - helped the team in the playoffs. The trick will be making it to the playoffs. The offense, as currently configured, is clearly not enough to win the division or get the Wild Card. The NL East is too strong for a bad offense to prosper. However, if the Braves can simply get that offense to mediocre status...

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