Braves running away in NL East thanks to Johnson
While every other divisional race has the first and second place teams within 3 ½ games of one another, the National Leagues East has turned into a runaway for the Atlanta Braves.
As of Friday August 2, the Braves hold an 11 ½ game lead over the second place Washington Nationals. The Braves have won 7 straight games and 8 of their last 10 overall to increase their NL East leading record to 64-45.
The current winning streak is the Braves’ longest since May. Much of the success this season has been from the pitching staff. The Braves have the third best ERA as a team in the majors. On offense, the team is not that bad either. The Braves are eighth in the league in runs scored.
During the offseason, the Braves made a two key acquisitions when they traded for Justin Upton and Chris Johnson. They traded away talents as well such as Martin Prado and Randall Delgado, but the returns Upton and Johnson have given the Braves are tremendous.
Upton was the trade’s headliner and started the season on fire, but has since cooled, but someone forgot to mention this to Johnson as he continues to play impressive baseball and surprise all that watch the team.
Johnson seemed to be a throw-in in the deal that brought the Braves Upton, but had held his own and then some in the lineup for the Braves and against the likes of the league’s best.
To start the season, Johnson was not even the starter, but he took over the spot from Juan Francisco and now leads the National Leagues in batting with a .342 average.
Johnson has been blessed with the talent to do thing well, as he had flashes of great play while with both Houston and Arizona. However, in Atlanta he has played like an entirely different player with much more confidence at the plate.
Johnson looks to be the mainstay at third base for the Braves, with some saying, he could even be a reincarnation of Chipper Jones.
With the Braves now 11 ½ games in front in the NL East, it should not be whether they won the NL East title, it should be when they will clinch it. It will be their first NL East title since 2005, which was the last of 11 straight division titles.
With the talented young lineup of players, the Braves could be starting another run of consecutive division titles.