The Mighty Braves

The Atlanta Braves are a tough team to beat right now and it’s got nothing to do with the Waffle House. The Waffle House in question opened at Turner field and coincided with Atlanta’s extremely recent 14 game winning streak.

It does have everything to do with their dominant hitting and pitching. The Braves have a league best 72-46 record. They are absolutely man-handling the NL East. I don’t want to say they’re the team to beat but, c’mon, are you blind? They are absolutely the team to beat (despite some very good baseball coming from the Dodgers as of late). This team is peaking at the right time and there’s no argument against it, they’re playing playoff baseball right now.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor works in the second inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Pitching The only team pitching better than the Atlanta Braves are the Pittsburgh Pirates (in terms of team ERA anyway). The Braves boast a team ERA of 3.20, allowing only 372 runs all year long. What’s more at 1.18 they have the best WHIP(walks and hits per innings pitched) in the major leagues. They are led by Mike Minor and Julio Teheran who are both pitching out of their minds. They both rank among the top 20 in the MLB in ERA.

Minor has a 12-5 record this season with a 2.87 ERA. He’s been pitching like a stud. He’s got a great fastball and does a great job of dominating the corners of the strike zone. He may have just filled the role as the team’s ace.

Julio Teheran is just 22 years old but he’s certainly trending upward. With a 2.96 ERA, Julio is pitching with the best of them. He also has a great fastball. He’s got quite a bit of savvy for his age and is capable of dominating a game when he gets going.

Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman, right, gets a hugs from teammate B.J. Upton after hitting three-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Hitting The Braves can hit. They’ve scored 525 runs this year which is 7th in the Majors and as a team they’ve hit 141 home runs which makes them 3rd in the MLB. The Braves have offensive fire power and are capable of jumping up to sizable leads very quickly. Their pitchers protect these leads, which is yet another reason why they’re are hard to beat. Oh by the way, Atlanta is 9th in On Base Percentage.

The Braves are led by first baseman Freddie Freeman. He’s batting .313 this season with an OBP of .393, putting him at 7th in the MLB and he’s got 74 RBIs.

Chris Johnson has got the best batting average on the team. His average is .336 and he’s got 121 hits which is pretty good.

I think Justin Upton is the key because he is so solid. He’s bats a solid .267,  he’s got 22 home runs which is really good and he’s scored 74 runs which is ridiculously good. In short, Justin Upton is good at his job.

When all of these pieces are put together they make a team that is capable of getting players in scoring position, and then getting them home. If you recall, the Braves have scored 525 runs this year. That’s a lot of runs. There’s a reason why they can do that. They have players who put them in positions to score frequently. Even a guy like Dan Uggla, who doesn’t hit particularly well has 21 home runs this season. When he does make contact with the ball, it’s leaving the park. Period.

So here are the ingredients. Lethal pitching, consistent hitting and scoring, followed by an enviable home record of 40-16 (you read that correctly, the Braves have won 71% of their home games). It only makes one thing. A recipe of disaster for any opposing team.

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