Just a few weeks ago, the following things were being said about the Atlanta Braves starting rotation: they won’t be good at all, they can’t keep this offense in games and the best one off all — they will be the reason that the team won’t succeed in 2014.
Welcome to Week 3 of the regular season. Oh, and what do you know, the Braves have a starting rotation that is pretty much unmatched through this point of the season. Not only have they done it without three of their top pitchers over the past few seasons, they’re doing it with David Hale who is going to serve as a No. 5 starter at best in his career, Aaron Harang who leads the league in ERA at the ripe age of 35, and Alex Wood who is entering his first full season in the Braves’ starting rotation. Add those guys to new-found ace Julio Teheran and former Kansas City Royal Ervin Santana, you wouldn’t have been called crazy to say that this staff had little expectations.
A total of 18 games later, the starting five have only given up 20 earned runs and have struck out 94 batters. They also hold a WHIP of 1.04 and an ERA of 1.54. It’s fairly simple to say that the starters have carried this team through the first part of the season.
The way that these guys have done it is actually straight-forward. For the most part, they have pounded the strike zone early and often through games. They have the confidence to let the opposing hitters put the ball in play knowing that they have good defenders all over the field behind them. As they continue to throw strikes, they’ll continue to gets players out on a very high pace and will only succeed at a higher level once Mike Minor joins the team later this week.