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giving-credit-where-its-due | October | 2005 Articles

2005 Archives

Giving credit where itís due

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In the 2001 season, the Braves were 12th in runs scored in the National League. There were 16 teams in the NL. An improvement was needed. Enter Terry Pendleton as Hitting Coach. His first year, 2002, the Braves improved to 8th and were middle of the pack. In 2003, Javy Lopez suddenly rediscovered how to hit and became better than he had ever been before at age 32. At the top of the lineup, 2 middle infielders had breakout years in Rafael Furcal and Marcus Giles. Gary Sheffield, Chipper Jones, and Andruw Jones formed an outfield that hit more than 100 homers. Therefore, the Braves led the league in offense. In 2004, the Braves were 5th in runs scored despite the losses of Sheffield and Lopez. Chipper Jones and Marcus Giles missed significant time with injuries. But the Braves were near the top of the league in offense anyway. This season, the Braves were 4th in runs scored. Furcal and Giles put up their normal numbers, and Andruw Jones had an MVP caliber year. Also, the Braves saw big contributions from rookies Jeff Francoeur, Wilson Betemit, Ryan Langerhans, Kelly Johnson, and Brian McCann. The Braves, of course, are traditionally carried by their pitching staff. In the same timespan, they finished 1st in ERA in 2002 and 2004, while having a 6th place finish this year and an 8th place finish in 2002. But the offense has done its share. In the past 2 postseasons, the pitching staff can actually be blamed for the Braves demise, instead of the offense which traditionally has taken the blame. They did their job this year. Terry Pendleton deserves some recognition. I have to give him credit for the Braves' solid offense in recent years.

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