Fair or Foul?


David Bettler

The Braves look to have more celebrations like this as the season comes to a close.

Steven Bettler, Staff Writer

The Braves 2013 roster has a chance to do something that no one expected: win the World Series. The Braves have not won a championship since 1995 when they were near the beginning of their 14 year dominance of the National League Eastern Division. Few people actually expect them to win it all this season, especially after how many unexpected roadblocks the Braves have faced.

During spring training, the Braves were aware of what their season would hold statistically: a lot of home runs and strikeouts. They are a hit or miss team when it comes to hitting, and that presumption has proved  true.

Case and point: BJ Upton and Dan Uggla. It is safe to say that these two have flopped this year, something that the ’95 team did not really have happen, save for maybe Jeff Blauser, but no one really expected much out of him. Neither Upton nor Uggla have a batting average over .200, and both have managed to have equally terrible seasons.

Injuries are something to take into account when building any team. Oddly enough, the ’95 roster did not have many injuries, as most of their players played in over 130 games. The Braves of today did not have that luxury. Eric O’Flaherty, Johnny Venters, Tim Hudson, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Justin Upton all have missed games due to injury. Losing that many key players is not a good thing for a team that hopes to win it all.

Three of those injured players are the Braves’ best pitchers, and all have been sorely missed. This team does not have an ace pitching staff like the ’95 Braves. There is no John Smoltz, no Tom Glavine, and no Greg Maddux. The Braves could have used a guy like Maddux, who went 19-2 with a 1.63 earned run average and won his fourth consecutive Cy Young award in 1995. When the best pitchers on an average staff go missing, there is need to panic.

Despite all of these disadvantages, there are definitely good things that have come out of this season. Freddie Freeman has had a MVP worthy season, not just based on his hitting, but on his incredible fielding effort. Andrelton Simmons is practically a lock for the Gold Glove award, if not a strong candidate for MVP based solely on his defense.

The Braves have won more games this year than they did when they won the World Series. Considering the fact that they have been injury riddled, plagued by having to replace the presence of Chipper Jones, and the terrible production of BJ Upton and Dan Uggla, this feat is incredible.

The 1995 Braves are probably not the best Braves team of all-time. John Smoltz did not have his best year, Kent Mercker was a flop, and Steve Avery was not the same man he once was when he arrived in Atlanta.

The current Braves are also probably not the greatest team ever assembled by the Braves organization. They have no real standout pitchers and have no players with over 30 home runs, and they have definite questions with the dependability of their pitching staff.

The 2001 Braves argueably are the greatest Braves team ever based on their win-loss record, and the sheer star power that they possessed. By this time, those mid 90’s stars were in their prime, and it showed.

The Braves have a shot at the World Series, not a good one, but at least they have one. The problem is that they just do not have all of the pieces that the Dodgers possess and will bring against Atlanta.

Clayton Kershaw is having a great season and is a guaranteed win for the Dodgers, and it is safe to say that he will be pitching twice in their series. Hanley Rameriez is one of the most complete players in the league, and that will show in the NLDS.

The Braves could win it all, but it is not likely. They are lucky just to have made it this far, and their chances of making it all the way are slim to none.