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Braves death greatly exaggerated

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Updated: May 12, 2003, 8:07 AM ET
By By Jim Baker
Two weeks into the season it appeared as though the Atlanta Braves had finally reached the end of their tether. Their pitching appeared to be in ruins. They were giving up over seven runs per game and had been dinged for scores of 17, 16, 12 and 10. Their vaunted pitching staff of 2002 had been, for the most part, scattered to the four corners of baseball leaving behind an apparent sham of a replacement. Hands were being rubbed in delight at the prospect of somebody else finally climbing atop the heap of the National League East.

25 games later, that is but a vague and blurry memory. The Braves have lost just four times since then and have just completed taking two of three games from the Giants, the team with the best record in the National League. The pitching has recovered (Mike Hampton got his first-ever played-in-the-city-of-Atlanta victory yesterday, reports Guy Cutright of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and the offense is percolating. Last year the Braves won in spite of their offense. So far this season, they are scoring a good deal more.

Braves runs per game:
2002: 4.4
2003: 5.2

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