Are Braves built for October run? HOFs: Yes

Glavine, Smoltz and Jones break down Atlanta's path to postseason success

October 8th, 2021

ATLANTA -- With the Braves preparing to begin their National League Division Series against the Brewers, Hall of Famers , and recently took time to discuss how the team might fare during the postseason.

“When I look at the National League, two of the better teams [Dodgers or Giants] are going to knock themselves out one way or another,” Smoltz said. “L.A. and San Fran are either going to get eliminated or eliminate one or the other. If you get past Milwaukee, I think [the Braves] have better than a fighting chance; I really do. No one would have given them a chance two months ago.”

The Braves didn’t produce a winning record until August arrived, and yet, they won a fourth consecutive NL East title by 6 1/2 games. Their late-season charge was influenced by the great value gained from Trade Deadline acquisitions Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario.

“They hit their stride at the perfect time,” Smoltz said. “I mean, after alternating wins and losses at the end of July, they have had one of baseball’s best records. It’s amazing they are in this spot.”

Thoughts on the rotation
Glavine: “First and foremost, I like their top three guys [, and ] in the rotation. I think all of those guys are capable of going out there any given night and pitching a gem. I think those three guys could certainly match up with anybody. When you have three guys like that in the rotation, that's a huge luxury.”

Jones: “Charlie and Max are going to have to win. They're going to have to pitch deep into games. We're going to have to win their starts. It's a lot of pressure to put on those guys, but, you know, after seeing what Max did last year in the postseason, we know he’s up for it. Charlie’s been through the wars before and he’s been the last man standing on the mound at the end of a World Series. I can’t think of two better guys to have out there with the pressure of the success of this team falling on their shoulders.”

Smoltz: “Their pitching is more ready than it was the last few times, and it's lined up. They've got a front two, and even a front three, that could go against anyone. When they signed Charlie Morton, he was going to have a trickle-down effect on the other two guys. Max Fried last year did all he needed to get in this dominant mode that he's in right now. Ian Anderson is Ian Anderson. He’s the kind of pitcher that has you living on the edge of your seat, but you don’t know it by his heartbeat.”

Thoughts on the offense
Jones: “I think you could argue all four infielders -- , , and -- could win the Silver Slugger this year. I don’t think that’s a stretch at all. It probably won’t happen that all four of them will win, but it’s the most dynamic infield I’ve ever seen. That’s saying something; I’ve been around the game for a long time. Throw in Duvall and he might win [a Silver Slugger] too. So you’ve got a lot of offensive thump.”

Glavine: “This is a deep lineup. Whenever I [work as a broadcaster] and analyze games, I tend to obviously do it from a pitching perspective. And you know, it's a lineup right now that you're hard pressed to hunt for a place to find outs.”

Smoltz: “Their power studs have cut down on their strikeouts. The other guys have too many strikeouts. But they’re going to kill you with the long ball if you make a mistake. Albies, Riley and Freeman have been incredible.”

Thoughts on the bullpen
Glavine: “They clearly have guys to get the job done. That’s not to say we don’t have heart attacks sometimes, but that’s kind of the nature of the beast.”

Smoltz: “If they get good work from their bullpen -- just if they’re decent -- they’ve got a chance for a long run. I really believe it. If gets outs with his fastball, good things will happen.”

Glavine: “Down the stretch, [Smith] got it done; I think that's what you have to look at. I think Luke Jackson has had as good a year as anybody. [Tyler] Matzek has really thrown the ball well in the second half. They certainly have the weapons out there to get the job done. It all boils down to who performs and who doesn’t. But if you just want to go on the body of work over the course of the season and talent level, this bullpen has been pretty darn good.”