|Braves No. 1 pick Kyle Wright.|
If last week’s slate of games is any indication, the Atlanta Braves seem to be steadily improving as the gap between their pitching and offense begins to close.
Since Monday of last week, the Braves have gone 4-2 and won important NL East series against the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins. The Braves beat the Nationals, 11-10, on Monday of last week in Washington, but dropped Tuesday of last week’s game against the Nats, 10-5. Atlanta carried the series by beating Washington, 13-2, on Wednesday of last week.
The series victory at Washington was significant for a couple of reasons. Not only did it close the gap between Atlanta and Washington in the division standings, but it was also Atlanta’s first series victory at Washington since the Braves won two games during a three-game set in Washington on April 4-6, 2014.
Atlanta enjoyed a day off, their first since June 1, last Thursday, but were back in action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the Miami Marlins. Miami won the first game of the series, 5-0, on Friday, but Atlanta won on Saturday and Sunday, 8-7 and 5-4, respectively.
All of this winning helped the Braves edge up in the division standings. On Monday of last week, the Braves were tied for third place in the NL East standings, but as of this morning, they were tied with the Mets for the second-place spot in the standings, 10-1/2 games behind the Nationals.
Atlanta could really separate themselves from the Mets and gain ground on the Nats this week in a pair of home series against the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Brewers. San Francisco was coming to Atlanta for a four-game series against the Braves that was scheduled to start on Monday and end today (Thursday). The Giants have struggled this year, so hopefully Atlanta will be able to get a four-game sweep, which is not outside the realm of possibility.
Milwaukee will present a better challenge for the Braves. As of Monday, they were in first place in the NL Central standings, with a 2-1/2 lead over the Chicago Cubs. Many fans will remember that Atlanta swept the Brewers in a three-game series in Milwaukee in late April, so Braves fans are hoping they will have the same sort of success later this week.
Many fans kept their eye on last week’s MLB Draft, which saw 1,215 players selected in 40 rounds over a three-day period. Atlanta had the fifth pick overall and selected Vanderbilt right-handed pitcher Kyle Wright. In fact, seven of Atlanta’s first 10 picks were pitchers.
Wright is an Alabama native who was born in Huntsville on Oct. 2, 1995. He went to Buckhorn High School in New Market (in Madison County) and then pitched three seasons at Vanderbilt. Wright’s signing bonus was $7 million, which isn’t bad for a young man who is just 21 years old.
In the end, Braves fans are hoping that Wright and their other draft selections will develop into strong, dominating players who will contribute to the team in the years ahead.