The Braves are 29-27 through the first two months of the season, three games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East.
Atlanta's pitchers have been the story. Even with Mike Hampton out for the entire season, John Smoltz missing all of May, Tom Glavine missing two weeks in April, and Rafael Soriano and Peter Moylan - the two main relievers - missing most of the season, the pitching staff has been remarkably good.
They start the month of June with the best team ERA in the National League, with a 3.55 mark (196 earned runs in 496.1 innings). That's the fourth best ERA in all of baseball.
The starting rotation has the best ERA in the National League, with a 3.71 ERA (128 earned runs in 310.2 innings pitched). That's the fifth best ERA in all of baseball.
The Atlanta bullpen has the fifth best ERA in the National League at 3.30 (68 earned runs in 185.2 innings). That's the eighth best in the major leagues. The Braves are also last in the game with only eight saves through the first two months of the season.
While the bullpen lost the game for Atlanta on Saturday, overall in the month of May it was exceptional. Atlanta's pen had an ERA of 2.40 in May (24 earned runs allowed in 90 innings). The bullpen had a 3.52 ERA in April. Meanwhile, the rotation in May had an ERA of 4.00, higher than the 3.48 mark in April.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta and on The Bill Shanks Show on SportsRadio 105.5 the Fan in Macon. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.