So today we move our mid season review to the National League East. We start with the Atlanta Braves who sit in first place, with a 45-33 record, 1.5 games ahead of the New York Mets. Even though this team once won 14 straight division titles it seems a little odd to be talking about them as a first place club. The simple fact here is they have been playing some outstanding baseball. I firmly believe that there motivation is to send Manger Bobby Cox into retirement having managed yet another division winning team. If they keep this up that is exactly what they will have done.
Their success is not coming from the offense entirely. In fact they are hitting just .260 as a team, and that is just the 7th best average of the Senior Circuit. They have 676 hits, 149 of which were doubles. They have added 8 triples and 61 home runs. Their batters have knocked in 350 runs, and as a team they have scored 370. They have only managed to steal 38 bases so far in 2010.
Their pitching staff has a 3.79 ERA. That is the fourth best mark in the NL. They have given up just 313 runs, and have struck out 557 batters while issuing 264 walks. None of their starting pitchers have been overly dominating beyond Tim Hudson who has an 8-3 record with a 2.37 ERA. Their closer, Billy Wagner, has converted 15 saves, and has a 5-0 record with a 1.19 ERA.
One of the big questions about this team was how much better the starting rotation would be minus Javier Vazquez, and the second would be how Jason Heyward would fair as a rookie. So far the starting rotation is getting the job done, and Heyward is batting .251 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI.