So, the Atlanta Braves have hit the all star break and are 2 back of the mets. Am I excited about the 2nd half? Not really and here's why: Starting Pitching is horrendous, as I predicted Smoltz has recurring arm problems, I suspect he has a tear somewhere and they have just not found it yet. Chuck James is an average #3 or #4 and Tim Hudson in my mind pitched over his head the first half of the season. The braves have no quality at #4 or #5. Bullpen even with the loss of Mike Gonzalez for the year is effective most nights and may be the strength of the team. With a struggling Andruw Jones and very good offense some nights - you might be lead to think - how good can this offense be if Andruw comes around? But I don't see it happening though it is pretty amazing that batting just over .200 he has 15 homers and 50 rbi's. Chipper continues to prove to me he is over the hill. I honestly expect there to be more nights of bad where we don't score any than good where we puch 5 or more across in the second half. The mets starting pitching is equally as atrocious as the braves which has made this a race. Say, the braves 5 starters have 15 starts left apiece roughly. Say Smoltz stays healthy and wins 10/15. Hudson surprises and wins 10/15. James is average like he has been and wins 8/15. Thats 28-17 or 62% which would be good enough to probably win the division or atleast take the wild card but Kyle Davies at 4 wins maybe 7/15 and the 5 spot maybe gets you 5/15. So when you take that into account, your looking at 40-35 or 53% which probably isn't good enough to overtake the mets and most likely doesn't get you the wild card either. And I don't see Smoltz managing to make all of his starts either. Braves probably play a hair over or under .500 the rest of the way and the mets probably take the division by 7 to 10 games when it all shakes out. Braves are a little better than I thought going in but not much.
Here's my prediction from the beginning of the year - I was pretty spot on with the exception of Andruw and the fact that Barry looks pretty good to break Hanks record.