The Atlanta Braves have the best record in baseball, and it’s September. I had to go ahead and get that out before they fall back to earth a bit; they’re currently losing a game 7-0. But it doesn’t matter, because the loathsome Nationals are an insurmountable 15 games out of first place. The Braves are 83-52.
The Braves have managed this feat with two lineup regulars hitting below .200, and with numerous injuries to such important figures as Hudson, O’Flaherty, and Heyward. Chris Johnson, who was originally regarded as a throw-in platoon player in the trade for Justin Upton, is leading the league in batting average. Julio Teheran and Alex Wood (until today) have had outstanding rookie seasons on the mound, and Evan Gattis (until last month) has provided a much-needed infusion of raw bear power.
They’ve had two win streaks of ten or more games, but they’ve had some losing streaks in there too. Despite their brilliant 49-18 home record, they’re kept in check on the road, going only 34-34. And they still struggle against terrible pitchers, while often performing well against the more talented ones. Finally, they aren’t always fun to watch, which might be part of the reason that no one knows that a mid-market team is the best in the sport.
But here’s to you, 2013 Atlanta Braves Baseball Club: making it happen when no one expected you to do so, while spending a lot less money and letting a dunce run the show. To the World Series!