*I’ve noticed some in the Twittersphere remarking on the similarities between this team’s record and that of the ’91 Braves, who entered the All-Star Break under .500 and 9-1/2 games behind the Dodgers.
The similarities end there. Those Braves had Glavine, Avery and Smoltz. Fourth starter Charlie Leibrandt would be the ace of the current rotation. The ’91 team also had a better bullpen and superior defense. Offensively, the 2017 Braves might have a slight edge, but that’s dependent on Matt Adams and Tyler Flowers continuing to outperform their career norms.
On top of that, the Nationals are a tougher opponent now than the Dodgers were then. They have a run differential of +92. The Braves have been outscored by 31 runs.
*Remember James Russell? He was the left-handed reliever who wasn’t that good vs. left-handed batters acquired, along with Emilio Bonifacio, during the lost season of 2014. In return the Braves sent the Cubs a young switch-hitting catcher, Victor Caratini, who just got the call to the majors. Caratini was batting .343 with a .923 OPS at Triple-A Iowa. Frank Wren screwed us again!
*All-Star voters are getting smarter. Outside of inflated vote totals for several Cubs, accounting for Kris Bryant logging 58,000 more votes than Nolan Arenado at third base, there’s little quibbling with the fans’ choices. Same for the AL, save for Eric Hosmer leading the vote count at 1B.