The Braves lost eight games in a row. Then they won eight of nine, the final six in succession. Over those 17 games they went from leading the National League East by 1 1/2 games to falling into a tie for last place to reclaiming second behind Washington. And if you’ve ever wondered — and this being baseball, you should never wonder — about the importance of starting pitching, that dizzying span left no doubt.
Over the eight-game losing streak, the Braves’ starting pitchers worked one quality start and compiled an ERA of 6.29.
Over the six-game winning streak, those starting pitchers worked four quality starts and mustered an ERA of 1.79.
Same team, same pitchers. But: Different pitching, different results. And now, 60 games into the 162-game season, we have our answer. If this rotation holds up its end, the Braves are a playoff team. (They entered Monday’s game against the imperial