Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Braves' win streak not unusual ... yet
By David Schoenfield
The Atlanta Braves are 12-1, winners of 10 in a row, and have allowed just 26 runs in 13 games. They've also hit 25 home runs although rank just sixth in the NL in runs scored.
For longtime Braves fans, it's a reminder of the 1982 club that started the year 13-0 and went on to win the NL West title -- at the time a minor miracle since the Braves hadn't had a winning season since 1974. That wasn't a great team -- it would finish just 89-73 so only played three games over .500 the rest of the way -- and I expect this Braves team to be win more than 89 games.
How rare is a 10-game winning streak? It looks impressive now because it's happening at the start of the season, but it's not all that unusual: Since 2000, there have been 44 winning streaks of at least 10 games, or between three and four per season on average.
Pushing it above 10 gets difficult, however. Since 2000:
11-game streaks: 11
12-game streaks: 7
13-game streaks: 0
14-game streaks: 0
15-game streaks: 2 (2000 Braves, 2001 Mariners)
20-game streaks: 1 (2002 A's)
That streak for the 2000 Braves also occurred early in the season, from April 16 through May 2. Not surprising, it was also fueled by excellent pitching, just 34 runs allowed in 15 games. That team ended up going 95-67 before getting swept in the division series by St. Louis.
Certainly, most of the teams to win at least 11 in a row were good teams -- those 2001 Mariners won 116 games and the 2002 A's won 103. The one surprise: The 2004 Devil Rays won 12 in a row (11 against National League clubs) and still finished 70-91.
Anyway, it's an impressive beginning for the Braves, already opening up a 4.5-game lead on the Nationals. Does this change your opinion on which team wins the NL East? I had the Nationals and Braves as my two best team in baseball before the season, but they're a lot closer now than they were two weeks ago.