|Posted by theprincipality on October 7, 2015 at 6:00 AM|
The 2015 season came to its conclusion on Sunday, at least as far as Atlanta was concerned. It used to be something of a saying in the South that the Braves season runs through October. Unfortunately this year it only happened due to the late start to the season, meaning the last five regular season games were held in October. The Braves' season was effectively done and dusted by August.
Nonetheless, the horrors of an horrific August were somewhat forgotten after an encouraging conclusion to the campaign. In September we swept the Phillies, beat the NL East champion Mets, beat the Nationals and swept the 100-game-winning Cardinals to wrap things up. Sure, the seasons were over for each of those teams when we played them but we could have rolled over and played dead, tanked to finish last and taken the first draft pick, but this is a team that intends to be together for years to come and maybe, just maybe, they are starting to play like one.
When you break down some of the individual performances in the year there is room for encouragement. Julio Teheran had a great September and ended up with a winning record and ERA not much over 4. Matt Wisler evened his record at 8-8 on the final day of the year. Williams Perez showed promise both as a starter and a ground ball relief specialist. Nick Markakis led the team in average. Adonis Garcia and Daniel Castro showed surprising power and of course Shelby Miller led the rotation with a 3.02 ERA.
Miller's 6-17 record was much talked about, as he set records for starts without a win. Yet he never gave up and was rewarded with that long awaited 'W' in his final start of the season. Miller's record shows several things. First, wins are overrated and a little arbitrary. Second, the Braves' offense sucked terribly at times this year. Third, Miller,ironically, could only set this unwanted record because he was pitching so well. Can you imagine a pitcher with an ERA of over 5 being allowed to stay in a rotation for that long? Shelby proved he is a competitor and that should bode well next season.
As someone who loves trends and symmetry in sports, I could hardly fail to notice that the Braves finished how they started, by sweeping a series and taking five of six overall. Outside that though, they barely won a third of their other 150 games and that is what must change next year. The team needs to find some consistency and compete every game of every day, every week of the year. Too many games passed this year with feeble efforts and growing pains so to have everyone back next year with a year's experience under their belts might be just what the Doctor ordered. Now we turn our attention to our old friend the hot stove, and settle in for football season. Did somebody say the Falcons were 4-0?