There was a point in September when the Atlanta Braves barely had a starting rotation. They certainly have one now, and by channeling the performance of great Braves staffs from the past, those pitchers have propelled Atlanta back to the National League Championship Series for the first time in 19 years.
“We flipped the script,” Braves star Freddie Freeman said. “Everybody was talking about offense. Now everybody’s going to be talking about our pitching, which is great, because they deserve it.”
The Braves move on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, who advanced after completing a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres on Thursday night. The NLCS begins Monday at Global Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
It will be the Braves’ first NLCS appearance since 2001, when the club’s top hurlers were future Hall of Famers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. The current Braves starters have a long way to go to match that trio, but they’ve done a fair imitation of them since the regular season ended.nike nfl jerseys cheap china
Atlanta has given up only five runs over 49 innings for a 0.92 ERA while dispatching Cincinnati and Miami in back-to-back sweeps. Three starters — Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Wright — have started all five of the contests. Of the three, Fried, 26, is the graybeard of the bunch.
“It’s been fun,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “They’ve just been executing. They’ve been doing their homework, trusting the game plan. It’s really amazing to see and amazing to be a part of.”
Early this season, it would have been impossible to envision a run like this for the Braves’ pitching staff, even though the veteran bullpen has been solid throughout. First, 2019 Cy Young contender Mike Soroka was lost for the season after making three starts. Veteran lefty Cole Hamels made one start. Another veteran, Felix Hernandez, opted out because of the coronavirus pandemic.nfl cheap jerseys nike
Through the end of August, the Atlanta rotation’s 5.46 ERA ranked 25th in the majors. By the second week of September, when Fried was laid up because of back spasms and Wright was trying to overcome early struggles at the club’s alternate site camp, Atlanta’s preseason rotation plan had vanished.
But with Anderson leading the way, the Braves look like a complete team now that they are waiting on the winner of the Padres-Dodgers series, with the battle for the NL pennant looming ahead.
“I think the guys over the course of this year, they started believing,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We put the whole thing together really. I guess we fought that starting pitching bug to have a couple of these young guys step in and all of a sudden start making strides. [It] is really, really good and really encouraging for our season and our organization going forward.”