Despite a Huge Division Lead, Atlanta Braves are Keeping Things Exciting

By Josh McKinney
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

When your favorite MLB team has a huge lead in its division with less than a month to go in the regular season, it can be difficult to stay entertained.

Not so with the 2013 Atlanta Braves, who are keeping things exciting despite leading the National League East by 15 games entering Wednesday’s game with the New York Mets.

Just how are they doing so, you ask?

Well, first of all, let me tell you what can be boring as a fan of a club with such a large advantage in its division: Watching the same players take the field day after day, particularly starting pitchers.

You see, as much as I love the Braves’ starters — especially Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen — once I’ve seen them trot out there 26 or 27 times in a season, I start to wish I could see some fresh faces take the mound.

Lately, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has allowed me to do just that.

It’s not that I don’t love watching the aforementioned hurlers, along with rotation mates Alex Wood and Paul Maholm, do their thing. It’s just that with a 15-game lead, it almost gets a little old watching them continually dominate the competition, as crazy as that sounds.

And while 31-year-old journeyman Kameron Loe starting in place of rookie sensation Julio Teheran — who has gone 11-7 with a 3.01 ERA while establishing himself as one of Atlanta’s top starters — doesn’t scream “exciting,” it does make for a new experience, be it good or bad.

Heck, I was even interested in seeing veteran starter Freddy Garcia enter a game with the Braves down 7-0 to the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

I still don’t think that makes me crazy.

Now if I was to want the same thing come playoff time, then I would be.

Just for the record, I don’t.

Josh McKinney is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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