The 2013 Atlanta Braves won 96 games, on the way to their 2nd NL East divisional title of the decade. The Braves ripped off a 10 game winning streak in April to open the season 12 – 1, and added a 14 game winning streak from July 26th to August 9th. The 96 wins were second in the decade only to the 97 wins posted in 2019, and were enough to secure the division by 10 games over the Washington Nationals.
The Braves made a splash in the offseason, signing 28 year old free agent centerfielder B.J. Upton (now Melvin Upton Jr.) to a 5 year contract worth $75.25 million in November, then trading for his brother, leftfielder Justin Upton and 3rd baseman Chris Johnson. Martin Prado, Nick Ahmed, Randall Delgado, Brandon Drury, and Zeke Spruill went to Arizona in the January deal.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,Isaac Watts
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the op’ning day.
2013 marked the first full season without Braves Journal founder Mac Thomason. Alex made sure Mac was not forgotten with an opening day game thread consisting of one of Mac’s best works, and my personal favorite. Going forward, the previous game’s recap typically served as the next game’s game thread.
Y’all Gonna Make Me Lose My Mind
The Upton era began auspiciously as B.J and Justin tied, then walked off the Cubs on April 6th, with home runs in the 9th. However, while Justin finished the season with a .263/.354/.464 BA/OBP/SLG line, and 27 homers, B.J. fell off a cliff, at.184/.268/289. The Chris Johnson addition proved more fruitful, as the 28 year old posted a career year, .321/.358/.457, and finished 2nd in the league in batting average.
Today, as we live and breathe, Justin Upton is only 32 years old.
The legend of El Oso Blanco
Evan Gattis hit his first major league homer while his father was being interviewed live. Gattis got into 104 games, mostly splitting time between Left Field and Catcher, and hit .243/.291/.480 with 21 homers. He’s a pretty cool story; he and Andrelton are probably my two favorite players of the decade.
Baseball Reference credited Andrelton Simmons with 7.0 WAR, the highest single season for a Brave in the decade. Check out this legendary Braves Journal series: Which Andrelton Simmons Catch was Better?
The starting rotation was led by 3 virtually indistinguishable pitchers:
Craig Kimbrel recorded 50 saves, and struck out 98 in 67 innings, while allowing only 39 hits. The 50 saves led the Majors.
Freddie Freeman hit .319/.396/.501 with 23 homers and 109 RBI’s and why am I telling you this you aren’t even the least little bit surprised.
Somehow the Braves put together a 96 win season with two starters who did not approach the Mendoza Line. Dan Uggla posted a .179 batting average, although he somehow managed a .309 on base percentage. Uggla’s 22 homers contributed to a .362 slugging percentage.
2013 marked the final season for several notable Braves. Tim Hudson broke his ankle covering first base on July 24th, and missed the remainder of the season. The previous day’s recap served as the game thread. The 38 year old Hudson signed with the Giants as a free agent, and put together a couple more seasons, finishing with a 222 – 133 record. Has anyone here ever done a Keltner List on Hudson?
Brian McCann signed with the Yankees as a free agent in December. McCann was 29 at the time and posted a .256/.336/.461 line with 20 homers for the Braves in 2013. Brian returned to the Braves for a final season in 2019.
Eric O’Flaherty underwent Tommy John surgery on May 21st, and signed with Oakland as a free agent during the offseason. O’Flaherty returned to the Braves for parts of the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but was never again really effective after the surgery.
NL East Final Standings
The Braves finished 1 game behind the 97 – 65 St. Louis Cardinals for the top spot in the NL playoffs, and took on the 92 – 70 Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. The Dodgers were in control throughout, taking game 1 in Atlanta 6 – 1, and went back to Dodger Stadium with a split. After the Dodgers took game 3 handily, 13 – 6, the Braves took a 3 – 2 lead in the 7th inning of game 4. However, the Dodgers scored 2 in the 8th for the final score. As per the 2013 custom, the previous recap served as the game thread.
Thanks for reading about the 2013 Atlanta Braves. If you enjoyed this piece, take a look at our 2010 Atlanta Braves reflection.