The Braves have won 14 in a row for the second time in ten seasons
14 in a row! That’s pretty cool. It’s a pretty rare feat, too — in the last 10 seasons, only five teams have won 14 or more in a row. (Most recently before this Braves team, the 2021 Cardinals won 17 in a row.) With these 14 wins, the Braves have tied their 2013 team for the second-longest win streak since 1901. Given the off-day, we can afford to reminisce about that other streak a bit.
Unlike this streak, the 2013 Braves’ spree came at a less-consequential point in their season. The 2013 Braves were 57-45, with an eight-game lead in the division, before they started their streak. After returning home from a 3-4 road trip, they kicked it off by sweeping the Cardinals. Next was a four-game sweep of the Rockies that started with a walkoff win. After those seven games, the Braves went back on the road, where they swept in Philadelphia, and then in Washington. They returned home, had an off day, and then took the first game of a series with the Marlins. There’s your 14 games.
During that run, the Braves outscored their opposition 82-31 — basically winning by 3.6 runs per game, on average. Four games were one-run wins, 10 of the 14 were settled by three runs or fewer, and there were only three blowouts of five-plus runs in the final score. All three blowouts came in the final three games of their series with the Rockies, after a walkoff one-run win in the first game.
During this current streak, so far, the Braves have outscored their opponents 101-41— a higher margin of 4.3 runs, on average. They’ve had two one-run wins, and only six of 14 games have had a score within three runs. They’ve had six blowouts of five-plus runs. In other words, this streak has felt more dominant, with fewer wins scrounged up.
The 2013 streak was threatened a few times. In just their third game, the Braves fell behind 5-0 before taking the lead with a six-run third and eventually winning on a walkoff in the 10th. Win number nine required 12 innings and erasing a 3-0 deficit after two innings. For the most part, though, it was smooth sailing, as the Braves never trailed in seven of their games, and had multiple huge innings to erase deficits and/or put the game out of reach otherwise. The 2022 streak has been threatened even less, as the Braves have never trailed in nine of the 14 games, While the streak did require two early extra-inning wins versus the Rockies, those games were tied late and did not require a last-ditch comeback, and the Braves were on the road and scored the “ghost runner” first in both games.
From a performance perspective, the 2022 Braves are second in hitting, fourth in defense, and second in total position player value during the streak. Dansby Swanson (190 wRC+) and Michael Harris II (184 wRC+) have both amassed 1.1 fWAR in just 14 games; Swanson leads the team with 0.91 WPA. Matt Olson has really been the only Brave to struggle while the rest of his teammates have gone ham; he’s dead last in wRC+ (53) and WPA (-0.33), as well as xwOBA, during the streak.
The pitching staff leads baseball in fWAR during the streak (rotation sixth, bullpen second). However, it’s first in baseball in WPA in that span, essentially reflecting a great job of “pitching to the score.” Jackson Stephens and Charlie Morton are the only pitching staff members with a negative WPA, while Max Fried (0.96) and Kyle Wright (0.82) have amassed a ton. No pitcher has negative fWAR during the streak; Fried’s 0.6 fWAR leads the team.
In 2013, the numbers were similarly gaudy, which you’d expect because hey, 14-game winning streak. The 2013 position player unit was far and away first in MLB in fWAR (first in hitting, second in defense). The pitching was third in fWAR, but interestingly, the rotation was only 15th, while the bullpen was first. Interestingly, much of the offensive success during the 2013 streak was Justin Upton’s doing (1.4 fWAR, 269 wRC+, 1.25 WPA); Jason Heyward chipped in with 1.00 WPA and 0.8 fWAR. Three position players (Jose Constanza in six PAs, Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla) had negative fWAR during the streak, but Gattis and Uggla somehow had positive WPA despite wRC+s of 7 and 17, respectively, while Constanza and Todd Cunningham had the only negative WPAs.
As said, the starting pitching was not a big boon to the 2013 Braves during their streak. Julio Teheran and Mike Minor each led the team with 0.5 fWAR, but Jordan Walden and Craig Kimbrel were right behind them with 0.4, in a lot fewer innings. Teheran did have 0.75 WPA, but four relievers (not including Walden) had more WPA than the next-highest starter. While no pitcher had negative fWAR during the streak, starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy got burned by BABIP and HR/FB and posted negative WPAs across six combined starts, though of course the Braves won each of those games anyway.
All streaks must end, and the 2013 streak ended in pretty strange fashion. The Braves fought the Marlins to a 0-0 tie through eight innings on August 10, as Alex Wood dueled Nathan Eovaldi. In the top of the ninth, Adeiny Hechavarria banged a triple off Jordan Walden to start the frame. A few pitches later, he scored the game’s only run on a wild pitch. Had that wild pitch not happened, there’s a decent chance that the game would’ve remained scoreless and the streak could have been extended, because Walden’s next three batters went: strikeout, infield lineout, groundout. The Braves mustered just a two-out single against Steve Cishek (the same Cishek that just appeared in two games of their current winning streak) in the ninth and the streak ended quietly. In that game, the Braves had zero extra-base hits and only got a runner to second once, as a result of a wild pitch in the first inning. It was a sudden and uncharacteristic loss for a team that clobbered its opposition to date, but that’s baseball.
After the streak, the 2013 Braves kind of scuffled down the stretch, going 21-21 with the division sewn up, including a 13-14 September. And, we all know how that season ended…
The story of the 2022 Braves is still being written. Maybe they’ll push the streak to 15 on Friday afternoon, tying the longest streak since 1901 by a Braves team (2000). Maybe they’ll clear that, too. We’ll see.