Braves’ current record: 88-65 (2nd in NL East, 5 games behind Washington Nationals)
September 17: Won 7-5 at Miami Marlins
September 18: Lost 4-3 at Miami Marlins (10 innings)
September 19: Won 3-0 at Miami Marlins
September 21: Lost 6-2 at Philadelphia Phillies
September 22: Won 8-2 at Philadelphia Phillies
September 23: Won 2-1 at Philadelphia Phillies
It’s hard to worry about an offense that jumped on top early several times this week — a recipe for success in road games. It’s great preparation for the postseason, and the Braves passed a test against decent pitching in the process.
Saturday’s victory over Philadelphia stood out as the best offensive performance of the week. In under two innings, the Braves knocked Phillies starter Roy Halladay out of the game and were on their way to a blowout victory in front of a national audience. Halladay hasn’t been the same dominant pitcher in 2012, but he’s been really bad against the Braves, so it was good to see the Braves continue their winning ways against Philadelphia’s fallen ace.
The rotation continues to build toward a possible playoff run with several more great appearances this week. Three of their four wins were by three runs or less — proof that the staff is clicking for all nine innings. They’ve been holding leads on the road, and while the starters and closer Craig Kimbrel have been solid all year, the middle relievers have been getting in on the fun lately as well.
Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Chad Durbin have been getting it done for months, and the call-up of Cory Gearrin has made this team’s bullpen incredibly deep and reliable down the stretch. They’ll face stronger lineups in the postseason, but it’s hard to argue with their production in September.
The Braves committed only two errors this week, and while they continue to adjust to injuries by putting players in positions where they’re not comfortable, the guys continue to answer the call. Martin Prado has filled in at shortstop when Paul Janish and Andrelton Simmons went down with injuries, and Chipper Jones’ fill-ins have been worthy of praise as well.
The week ahead:
Tuesday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Friday: vs. New York Mets, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday: vs. New York Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Sunday: vs. New York Mets, 1:35 p.m.