The Atlanta Braves have now won 11 out of their last 13 games, with the most recent one coming on August 6 against the Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 6-1. Ben Sheets picked up his fourth win of the year for the Braves, while Vance Worley had his seventh loss.
I thought the August 6 game was an important start for Ben Sheets, as he had his first loss of the year against the Marlins in his last start and didn't have very good command that game. Would he continue to defy the odds, or fall back and become a mediocre pitcher that could provide a good start every once in a while? If the game against the Phillies was any indication, Sheets still has a lot to offer the Braves, going more than seven innings while giving up only one run on seven hits. What is more interesting is that he had no strikeouts on the night, and was able to pitch to contact effectively throughout much of the game. With four starts under Ben's belt now, can one really say that he is a legitimate pitcher who can give the Braves solid production down the stretch? Strangely enough, he hasn't pitched against anyone outside of the division yet, and it will be interesting to see how he performs against solid National League West opponents over the coming weeks in the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
The offensive player of the game for the Braves on August 6 was Freddie Freeman, who went 1 for 5 with a double and two RBIs in the third inning to break the game open early. Freeman has been hitting a lot better in the second half of the season, with his average going up to .281 already, and his power numbers are inching closer to last year's totals as well, with 13 home runs and 26 doubles to this point. If Uggla can get back on track while Freeman continues to improve, I think the Braves can definitely give the Washington Nationals a run for their money in the division (barring a terrible stretch of games in the last month of the season of course).
The Atlanta Braves will look to continue their winning ways on August 7 as Mike Minor takes the mound against Cole Hamels. Minor has yet to give up more than two runs in a start since the end of June, and is coming off of a game against the Phillies on July 28 that saw him throwing eight innings and giving up only one run. Cole Hamels has been a bit shaky of late, giving up at least three runs in each of his past three starts, so I think the Braves have a great chance to get another win on the board.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan.
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