Even during the glory years, the Braves ‘pen was rarely a strength. Often they were liabilities.
Here’s our rundown of the 5 worst, starting with #5:
Had the Braves reached the playoffs in 1994 (they led Houston by 2.5 games for the lone wild card berth when the players went on strike), they probably wouldn’t have gotten far.
The offense was hit and miss, hampered by season-ending injuries to Chipper and Ron Gant before the season even began. The rotation, beyond Maddux, was uncharacteristically shaky. Glavine walked 70 and allowed 173 hits in 165 IP, while Smoltz and Avery finished with ERA’s above 4. Kent Mercker was actually the team’s second-best starter.
Mercker’s emergence as a starter left a void in the ‘pen, the ’94 Braves’ weakest link. Mike Stanton, the lone southpaw, but not terribly effective, allowing 8 hits and 5 walks per 9 IP. Mark Wohlers was even more generous, allowing 51 hits in 51 innings, walking 33. Veteran Steve Bedrosian was the only reliever with a WHIP below 1.449. And then there was the Gregg Olson experiment.
Meanwhile, unlikely closer Greg McMichael’s ERA rose — from 2.06 in ’93 to 3.84 — just as sharply as his strikeouts per 9 innings declined.