Rest, then Braves ready for postseason run

9 numbers to take into account as Atlanta looks to defend its crown

October 6th, 2022

MIAMI -- took one more swing and got a rare start (his first in the Majors) as the Braves rested many of their regulars while concluding the regular season with a 12-9 loss to the Marlins on Wednesday afternoon at loanDepot Park. Having clinched a fifth consecutive National League East title on Tuesday night, the Braves entered this season finale simply intent on remaining healthy. They will rest the next two days, then begin preparing to host the Phillies in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Tuesday.

“It’s just a long season and it’s about how some teams handle it and come out of it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “These guys did. I think they’re excited to get some time off and I think they’re going to be really excited to ramp this up come Tuesday.”

Here are some interesting numbers to wrap the regular season:

162: Swanson grounded out against the first pitch of Wednesday’s game and headed to the clubhouse as the only Major League player to start 162 games this year. The veteran entered the regular season’s final day with a 6.4 fWAR (Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement Model). This ranked Swanson second among all shortstops, trailing only Francisco Lindor, and 11th among all MLB players. Matt Olson was the only other MLB player to play in 162 games this year.

78/79: Austin Riley led the NL with 79 extra-base hits. With a homer and double on Wednesday, Olson increased his extra-base total to 78, putting him in a second-place tie with the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts. A Braves player has recorded 80 extra-base hits in a season just six times, with the most recent being Freddie Freeman (83) in 2016.

38: It looked like Riley was destined for his first 40-homer season. But the third baseman fell two shy of the total after homering just three times in his final 27 games. Riley ended with 38 homers and 39 doubles. So, the 1999 version of Chipper Jones remains the only player in Braves history to record 40 homers and 40 doubles in the same season.

27: Given many of the Braves celebrated deep into the early morning hours on Wednesday, it doesn’t seem fair to make too much of what transpired in the regular-season finale. But Tyler Matzek’s recent woes extend beyond him issuing two walks and allowing two runs over two innings on Wednesday. The lefty entered the day having walked 27% (10-of-37) of the batters he’d faced over his past seven appearances. He became a legend last October, but he’s an uncertainty entering this postseason.

19/20: Michael Harris rested Wednesday, leaving him with 19 homers and 20 stolen bases. He’d have become the first Braves rookie to ever tally 20 in both categories and just the second NL player, joining Chris Young, who had 32 homers and 27 steals for the 2007 D-backs. There have been a total of 13 MLB rookies to accomplish this. The Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez and the Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. joined the group this year.

20/18: William Contreras tallied 20 homers and Travis d’Arnaud contributed 18 homers during what was an All-Star season for both Braves catchers. They are one of six catching duos to ever both hit at least 18 homers in the same season. The Royals duo of Salvador Perez and MJ Melendez also recently accomplished this.

.953: Marcell Ozuna seemed like a longshot for a postseason roster spot just a few weeks ago. But while producing a .953 OPS over 57 plate appearances since the start of September, the veteran slugger has significantly improved the odds of him being active during the NLDS. Ozuna showed the value of his power potential when he doubled and homered during a three-hit performance on Wednesday.

8: For the first time in franchise history, the Braves had eight players hit at least 15 home runs. This list didn’t include Adam Duvall and Ozzie Albies, who tallied 30-homer seasons in 2021 and then suffered injuries that cost them significant time this year.

90-plus: The Braves received 96 RBIs from the ninth spot in their lineup. This is the second-highest total in MLB history, trailing only the 1996 Rangers, who drove in 100 runs from the lineup’s last spot. Just five teams in MLB history have received at least 90 RBIs from the ninth spot. There were just three clubs before the Braves and Dodgers extended this list this year.