Home » Blog » Braves in first place thanks in part to McCann, Kimbrel and Avilan

Braves in first place thanks in part to McCann, Kimbrel and Avilan

The Atlanta Braves start the second half of their regular season with a 6-game lead over the second place Washington Nationals. The Nationals have not played well of late and the Philadelphia Phillies are just a half game behind them in third place.

Atlanta has lead the division nearly the entire season thus far and come off the All-Star break with some players who are playing well, while others need to pick up their game.

One of Atlanta’s hottest players is Brian McCann. He just played for the seventh time in an All-Star game, as he took teammate Freddie Freeman’s place, who had a slight injury to his hand.

Thus far, McCann has had a strong July batting .419 with three homers and eight runs batted in. During the month, he leads the Braves in slugging percentage and on base percentage.

During the first week of July, he was the co-player of the week in the National League and had 15 hits and a .600 batting average.

Another hot player for the Braves is Luis Avilan. The southpaw has helped make up for the loss of Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty to injuries.

Thus far, he has not allowed an earned run in July and in June had an ERA of 0.00 and WHIP of 0.31, while notching six holds.

Avilan has not allowed an opposing team to score an earned run since May 21.

Closer Craig Kimbrel is also enjoying a great stretch. He was selected for his third straight All-Star Game. He did notch a loss in July, but still had three saves and a strikeout ratio of 19.8/9.

He has allowed just one earned run over his last 22 innings pitched dating to May 9. He has also had 14 saves during the period without any blown save opportunities.

On the other side of the coin, Kris Medlen has not pitched well this season. His ERA was a respectable 3.48 after May, but his record was a dismal 1-6. In July, he is just 1-2 with an ERA of 7.63.

Medlen will now be the starting rotation’s fifth starter, which is a message from his manager to pitch better.

Paul Maholm has also had a disappointing month. The veteran southpaw in July is 0-2 with an ERA of 6.97 in his two starts.

Maholm is giving up too many home runs in his starts as well as too many walks.

B.J. Upton has also struggled during the past month. The truth is, his entire season this far has not been very good. However, in July Upton has a .176 batting average with just 6 hits in 34 at bats. He has 14 strikeouts in the month, one RBI and no extra base hits or stolen bases during July.

He will start the second half out on the disabled list recovering from an adductor muscle strain. The break on the DL might do just as much good for his confidence as it will his adductor.

  • 100%