Freddie Freeman

Braves at Orioles 7/29/15

Find a rotation that works

The Braves have struggled mightily to get consistently good starts from its starting pitchers this season. Yes, there are a couple of bright spots with the stand-out rookie Mike Soroka and Julio Tehran, the veteran of the rotation, who has played well heading into the break, but the fact is the rotation is not preforming well enough.

The Braves starters are ranked 16th in the MLB — not exactly a world series contender number — plus they have tried over 20 different arms in relief this season, attempting to find a rotation that gives them the best chance.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Braves must get better performances from newly-signed Dallas Keuchel, Sean Newcomb and Max Fried. Those three along with Soroka and Tehran could help solidify the rotation with quality starting pitching, which could allow the bullpen to get in a rhythm.

Keep the bats hot

One thing about the 2019 Braves is that there is no shortage of bats. The Braves are 4th in the MLB in the On-base plus slugging stat and have broken the franchise record for home runs before the All-Star break. Austin Riley is a big part of that, as the rookie has the most home runs by a first-year player at this point of the season in Braves history.

He along with Ronald Acuña jr. and Freddie Freeman are regularly sending dingers over the wall. It’s not all about home runs though, as the Braves OPS proves. Nick Markakis, Dansby Swanson, Josh Donaldson and Ozzie Albies all post an OPS of .800 or better, which describes just how much the Braves are putting the ball in play.

If they can keep competing every at-bat like they have before the All-Star break, the Braves may have the best offensive season in franchise history.

Win at home

Let’s say the Braves get their rotation set and the bullpen starts to preform as the bats are also connecting, how do the Braves stay ahead in the East? 

The last two world champions the Astros and the Red Sox both had a terrific home vs. away record. They consistently preformed well at home, in their own atmosphere. 

The NL East may shape out to be the most tightly contested division in the 2019 MLB season. The Braves hold a six-game lead with a half of a game separating the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies. Up to the All-Star break, the Braves have preformed great at home going 27-19, as well as 26-18 on the road. 

Taking the home field advantage against teams like the Phillies and the Nationals will be essential. Win at home, establish a solid rotation, and keep the offensive domination going, those are the keys to the Braves keeping the NL East lead after the All-Star break.

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