In the beginning of April, particularly during the ten-game winning streak, the Braves pitchers were unstoppable. Just a few big nights from the offense were needed to get this team to win games, as it was the dominant pitching that steered the team.
After the winning streak, the starting pitching began to struggle. Not .to be out done, the bullpen began to struggle. Here is a list of what the pitching staff did in the first 14 games, compared to the last 21.
STAT FIRST 14 LAST 21
ERA 1.77 4.57
W 12 9
K/9 7.3 8.4
BB/9 2.4 3.0
HR/9 .4 1.4
H/9 7.6 9.9
The Braves have given opponents a lot of opportunities to score. They have allowed roughly 14 base runners per nine inning, compared to the 10 before that. Four extra base runners per game may not sound like much, but when you give up an extra home run per game, it will come back to haunt you.
This does not solely reflect the starting rotation. Craig Kimbrel has given up three blown saves in this span, which has contributed to the underwhelming record and inflated pitching stats.
By the way, there is nothing wrong with Craig Kimbrel. He has the same velocity as last year, he is just struggling with his location and reliance of his fastball (using it about 10 percent more this year.)
The Braves pitching will balance itself out. The record is not based on how the pitching has performed, but the following will show how the offensive woes have been masked.
STAT FIRST 14 LAST 21
AVG .254 .237
OBP .324 .319
HR/G 1.78 1.14
K/G 8.6 9.7
R/G 4.8 4.1
Sure, the bad increased and the good decreased, but it was not severe enough to warrant the record that ensued. The fact is that the pitching could no longer carry the slack for the offense. The Braves pitching will straighten itself out. It will not be as bad as it has been, but it will not be as good as it was. Expect something in the middle.
The offense is another story. Justin Upton carried the offense in April, but since his power surge has halted, so has the offense. Maybe the return of McCann and/or Heyward will give the offense a boost, but it is a scary thing to watch currently. Here’s to them figuring it out.