How the Atlanta Braves keep defying the odds

ATLANTA, GA SEPTEMBER 06: Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) watches his two run home run in the 7th inning during the MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves on September 6th, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA SEPTEMBER 06: Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) watches his two run home run in the 7th inning during the MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves on September 6th, 2019 at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

How are the Atlanta Braves doing it?

It’s not so much how many runs you score, but when you score them.  The Atlanta Braves have found ways to win in close games, in spite of their leaky pen.

In one-run games, Atlanta has taken care of business, boasting a 27-15 record in those games, and has shown the later innings to be their strongest.  Of course, you don’t necessarily want your team to rely on the late-inning comeback, but their 11-5 record in extra-inning games shows us that they’re more than capable of it.

The good news for the Atlanta Braves?  Everyone’s bullpen has been terrible!  

More from Call to the Pen

Yup, even the mighty Dodgers and the red-hot Nationals are no stranger to the late-inning meltdown these days, which if you put a shaky pen with an offense that seems to hit when it counts…  These are key features on a winning club that may not always translate statistically.

None of this is to say the Braves are BAD, or undeserving of their spot in the postseason, but in an era of baseball where there is such a distinct separation between good teams and bad teams, one would think that a team that would be considered one of the best would feast upon teams that were less than competitive.

On the other hand, though, the NL East has proven to be one of the more competitive divisions in baseball, and the Braves have handled their business against their rivals, amassing a 45-26 record, while the rest of the division is fighting to stay around the .500 mark.

Next. Washington Nationals face a 'must-sweep' series. dark

As the season winds down, and at the time of this writing the Braves have a chance to clinch their division on their home field, there are some underlying numbers that could be interpreted as concerning for those Atlanta fans and their young, dynamic core.  Take heart, however, as the analytics haven’t seemed to have slowed them down so far, and if there’s ever a fanbase more aware of the “anything can happen” mantra of the postseason, it’s Braves fans.