In what’s shaping up to be a race to the wire for the NL East crown, here’s a position by position breakdown of the Braves vs. Nationals. Position players first. Pitching staffs and benches to be examined soon! Check back for part two later!
Catcher- Brian McCann(ATL) vs. Kurt Suzuzki(WSH)
ATL- It’s undeniable, McCann has been awful this year. Awful by Brian McCann standards. His average has plummeted to .230 and he has 1 hit in his last 5 games, which isn’t exactly an encouraging sign for improvement. He has maintained some semblance of power, posting 18 HR’s and 57 RBI. Those are solid numbers for a catcher, just not Brian McCann.
WSH- Suzuki was a mid-season addition for the Nationals from Oakland, as they were desperate to add a veteran piece since Wilson Ramos suffered a season ending injury earlier this summer. Suzuki’s offensive numbers are far worse than McCann’s. He is hitting a minuscule .218 with 1 HR and 23 RBI. That’s even bad for a bench player who is mostly used as a defensive replacement.
Verdict- Neither player is known for stellar work behind the plate, and past performance would strongly indicate McCann having the better chance to contribute meaningful numbers down the stretch. McCann has the clear edge.First Base- Freddie Freeman(ATL) vs. Adam LaRoche(WSH) ATL- Freeman is an unusual case to dissect. He has been very good when his eyes cooperate, and abysmal when they give him problems. If the vision is honed in for the stretch run, I feel very confident about him every time he comes up to the plate. On the year, Freddie is hitting .276 with 15 HR’s and 76 RBI. Modest power numbers for a first basemen, but with healthy eyes all season, he is easily over 20 bombs.
WSH- LaRoche, a former Brave, is having a quietly stellar season. Known for his second half surges, he had the April of his career this year and boasts and overall line of .265 with 23 HR’s and 77 RBI. With a good finish, he could very well eclipse the 30 HR mark with 100 RBIs for the year. And as good as he hit earlier this season, his average since the All-Star break is .286, 31 points higher than his pre All-Star mark.