September is one of, if not the most, important month in the MLB baseball season. Teams in both leagues and each division are fighting for one of the coveted playoff spots that are rewarded to the top team in each division. Every series in September is an important one, as this is the last chance for every team to make their playoff bid.
The Atlanta Braves are the top team in the National League East, currently 6.5 games up from the Washington Nationals, and are hoping to stay that way through the month of September. The Nationals are playing their best baseball right now, so in order to remain on top, losing is not an option for the Braves. There are many aspects of the game that the Braves must capitalize on, but there are three that will be key to their success. Here are the ABCs of Braves baseball in September.
A- Acuna Jr
A is for--I hate to say it as much as you hate to read it--Acuna Jr. The reason I say I hate to write it is that no one player determines a team's success. The press around this young star has been outrageous, hyping him to the levels many veteran players will never reach. However, that being said, his performance has lived up to the hype. It is just a fact that when Ronald Acuna Jr. is hot, the Braves are hot. He sparks energy through this team that is going to be more than necessary for the Braves to stay successful throughout September and into the post-season.
B is for--and I cannot stress this enough-- the bullpen. Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen. One more time! Bullpen!! The Atlanta Braves are staffed with some of the most talented young starters in the league. Soroka, Fried, and Teheran have all carried more than their weight on the mound this season, each of them bringing something special to the mound. However, nothing is more detrimental than having a shutdown starter with nothing to back them up. The starters can only do so much through the first 5-7 innings, then it is on the closers to secure the win. This has been a problem area all season for the Braves and must be solidified if they want to be successful through the final months of the season.
C is for--if this wasn't obvious enough--consistency. This is an aspect that has to be present on any team, during any month of the season, but especially in October. Injuries are a real thing and have been very real for the Braves this season. However, it is crucial for the players who step in for the injured to remain consistent in the field and at the plate. Being able to step in without causing a hole in the line up is an absolute necessity for late-season play. Having a solid top to the bottom lineup is so crucial for success in September baseball.
The Atlanta Braves are in a good position to make a strong playoff run, but with these three keys, they will really become a force to be considered.