If the National League champion Washington Nationals can teach the Braves and all of us anything, it’s that starting pitching is the main ingredient in winning in October.
Didn’t we find that out in 1995, when the Braves won the World Series?
Yeah, that was what was most important.
They had Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux – three future Hall of Famers at the time.
Washington has Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin as their main trio, with former Braves starter Anibal Sanchez filling the role as a very good fourth starter.
The Nationals starters have a 2.05 ERA in their 10 postseason games.
That’s why they are 8-2 in the 10 games they have played.
This is a team that lost Bryce Harper to free agency last year, but they invested in Corbin to enhance the starting rotation.
And look at them now – the Nationals are in their first-ever World Series.
The Braves had good starting pitching this season.
They were 12th in all of baseball with a 4.20 ERA.
But the Nationals’ starting pitchers posted a 3.53 ERA – good enough for second in baseball.
This is the area the Braves must improve this offseason.
I think we have a future ace for Atlanta’s staff in 22-year-old Mike Soroka.
He was really impressive on the mound and his best days are in front of him.
Max Fried will turn 26 in January.
He won 17 games last season and he’s likely a lock in the rotation.
What will the Braves do with Mike Foltynewicz?
Well, you have to worry about Foltynewicz, who was lousy and didn’t make it out of the first inning in the deciding game.
His series against St.
Louis practically defined Foltynewicz.
He was brilliant in game two and then awful in game five.
If he’s healthy and consistent, Foltynewicz could be a great starter once again.
Will the Braves bring back Julio Teheran?
Well, they can pick up his option and pay him $12 million for 2020, or they could pay him $1 million to go away.
It might be time to cut the cord and let Teheran go, but can they find someone to make 33 starts and have a sub-4.00 ERA?
That will not be an easy decision.
Dallas Keuchel will likely leave as a free agent, and the Braves need to replace him with another veteran.
Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have had their chances, but they’ve got to prove they belong.
The Braves may have to trade for a top starter, or they could go the free agent route and sign someone like Madison Bumgarner or Zack Wheeler.
They’ve got to find someone to compliment Soroka and Fried.
A good rotation is just not good enough.
The Nationals are proving you have to be great, and the Braves have a lot of work to do before getting to that level.
Perhaps that’s why they’ll be at home watching the Nationals start the World Series next week.