Braves three up with seven to play

Bill Shanks

The final week of the regular season is here. The Braves play the Marlins, and they hope to wrap up the division as soon as they can to prepare for the postseason.

The Braves (31-22) are now three games up on the Marlins (28-25), who have now played the same number of games as Atlanta since they caught up with those two weekend double-headers. The Braves lead the Phillies (27-26) by four games, the Mets (24-29) by seven and the Nationals (20-32) by 10.5 games.

After the Marlins play four in Atlanta, they’ll finish the regular season with three in New York against the Yankees. The Phillies play four in Washington and then three in Tampa Bay.

Atlanta is tied with the Cubs (31-22) for the second-best record by a division leader, so that will play out this week to see if the Braves or Cubs are the second seed or the third seed in the playoffs.

Right now, the Padres are the four seed, the Marlins are the five seed and the Cardinals are the six seed. The Phillies would be the seven seed, but there are three teams – the Reds (27-27), the Brewers (26-26) and the Giants (26-26) are vying for the last seed and are all only a half-game back of the Phillies for the seven seed.

Here is how Freddie Freeman ranks in the National League entering Monday’s games in the top offensive categories: RBI (48- Tied with Marcell Ozuna for 1), Doubles (20 – 1), Batting Average (.346 – 2), OBP (.464 – 2), SLG% (.634), OPS (1.097 – 2), Hits (66 – 2), Walks (41 – 2) and Runs Scored (45 – 2).

Travis d’Arnaud is now on the batting average list, getting enough at bats to quality, and he is third in the NL with a .338 average. Adam Duvall is tied with Mookie Betts and Manny Machado with 16 home runs to lead the league. Ozuna is tied for second with Kole Calhoun and Fernando Tatis, Jr.

The Braves have four of the top 10 players in the NL in OBP – Freeman (.464 – 2), Acuna (.422 – 4), Ozuna (.406 – 7) and d’Arnaud (.400 – 9).

September has obviously been a great offensive month for the Braves, as they have scored 7.1 runs per game. One of the many doing well in September is d'Arnaud, who has hit .371 with a .457 OBP, five home runs and 15 RBI in 70 at bats. 

As a team, the Braves lead MLB with a .837 OPS. There are three teams with the next closest mark of .810 – the Mets, Dodgers and Padres. Atlanta also has the Majors best slugging percentage at .489, 17 points better than the Dodgers and Padres.

The Braves have the second-best team batting average in the Majors with a .269 mark, six points behind the Mets (.275). The Mets also have the best OBP in MLB (.353), while the Braves are second with a .348 OBP. And the Mets have scored two more runs (495) than the Braves (493) to lead MLB, with the Braves second. Atlanta has the second-most home runs in baseball (93), seven behind the Dodgers (100).

Even with the better starting pitching in the last week, the Braves still have the worst rotation ERA (5.74) in the National League – and second worst in baseball. Don’t worry, though, they won’t catch the Tigers (6.29) for the worst ERA in the sport by starting pitchers.

Atlanta’s bullpen now has the third-best ERA in baseball at 3.43. The A’s (2.42) and Dodgers (2.86) are the only two teams better.

For more Braves coverage, listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on SportsRadio 93-1 WXKO