Atlanta Braves Rotation Could Hurt Them In October
The Atlanta Braves hold the best record in the National League as of Monday with 92 wins and 64 losses. The offense has been hit or miss all season long, with B.J Upton really struggling after signing the largest free agent contract in Atlanta Braves history. With the offense struggling, it puts a lot of pressure on their pitching staff. The problem with their rotation is that they don’t have that one pitcher that they can go to and know they have a great chance of winning that game. The Dodgers, Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates each have that guy the Braves are missing.
Let’s take a look at their pitching rotation as of right now, with six games remaining. Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm, and Alex Wood make up the Braves rotation. When you look at those five guys, do you see that number one starter that other playoff teams have? No. Kris Medlen is their number one on the depth chart but will he be the one to face the Wild Card Game winner in the first of five in the NLDS? In my opinion, you have to go with Medlen. He started the season absolutely terrible but has picked it up as of late. The only thing about his sudden surge is the teams he is facing. Three of his last four wins have been against teams at the bottom of the barrel record-wise.
The other choice that the Braves have is Mike Minor. He is at the opposite end of the spectrum than Medlen. He has lost three straight decisions to bottom-of-the-barrel teams. You want to get hot going into the playoffs and Minor is far from that. His last win was a month ago against the St. Louis Cardinals. The decision will be left up to Freddy Gonzalez to make, but in my opinion, Medlen has to be the guy to go in game one of the NLDS.
Whoever Gonzalez chooses to throw game one, he has to think about the rest of the series as well. As the NLDS is only a five game set, so the number one guy will most likely throw twice along with the number two if necessary. That is really where the Braves are hurting. They could go with the rookie Alex Wood, who has started a mere 11 games in his short career for game three. The pressure is on Gonzalez and it will be a disappointing season for the Braves if they don’t at least get to the NLCS with as much talent that they have on their roster.
The one guy the Braves starting rotation is missing is Tim Hudson. Tim Hudson has been out of the rotation since his gruesome injury on July 24th against the New York Mets. Since he was declared out for the season the Braves are just 13 games over .500. This may not seem too bad, but the pitching staff is missing that one guy I have been mentioning this entire piece. It would be no question that if Hudson were healthy he would be the guy to go in game one.
The Braves may have the best record as of right now in the National League with less than a week to play but the playoffs could cause some problems for this team. We will have to wait and see who Gonzalez gives the nod to in game one and throughout the series, but not having that number one guy, could really spoil this great season for Atlanta.