Let’s go back to a simpler time, when new computers were finally guaranteed enough memory to store entire dates, people partied like it was last year, and Bush vs. Gore meant something other than deciding what to watch on Cinemax Saturday night. Let’s remember the 2000 Atlanta Braves.
Atlanta made a major trade over the offseason, sending Bret Boone, Ryan Klesko, and Jason Shiell to the Padres for Quilvio Veras, Reggie Sanders, and Wally Joyner. The newcomers helped the Braves to a 95 – 67 record. Although this was an 8 game drop from the
’99 1999 team, it was enough to finish 1 game ahead of the Mets and take their 9th consecutive NL East title. A 15 game win streak beginning on April 16th helped the Braves to open a 6.5 game lead by July 26th. A 16- 11 September helped them to hang on after a 14 – 15 August.
The Braves were led offensively by 28 year old Chipper Jones, who hit .311, with 36 homers and 111 RBI’s, and by 23 year old Andruw Jones, who hit .303, with 36 homers and 104 RBI’s. 39 year old Andres Galarraga contributed 28 homers, to go with a .301 batting average and 100 RBI’s, and 29 year old catcher Javy Lopez added .287/24/89. Andruw was one of 4 Braves to steal at least 21 bases, led by 22 year old shortstop Rafael Furcal with 40. Veras added 25 and hit .309, and Sanders matched Andruw’s 21. Andruw was awarded 8.2 WAR to lead the team, and Furcal was named NL Rookie of the Year, batting .295 and scoring 87 runs.
The pitching staff suffered from the absence of John Smoltz, out for the season with Tommy John surgery. A couple of guys named Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were still around to provide some assistance, though. The 34 year old Glavine turned in a pretty typical Glavine season, going 21 – 9 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. His 21 wins led the NL. Maddux’s run of otherworldly seasons was basically over by then; in 2000 he was merely great, finishing 19 – 9, with a 3.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. The rest of the rotation was right around .500 and unimpressive; Kevin Millwood, John Burkett, Terry Mulholland, and Andy Ashby got the rest of the starts, Ashby coming over from the Phillies in July for Bruce Chen and Jimmy Osting.
John Rocker led the team in saves with 24, despite an incredible 48 walks in 53 innings. 77 strikeouts and 42 hits allowed helped him keep his ERA down to 2.89. Rocker’s wildness opened the door for Mike Remlinger and Kerry Ligtenberg to pick up 12 saves apiece.
The Braves were swept by the Cardinals 3 – 0 in the NLDS. Maddux started game 1, and the Cardinals got 6 in the first on the way to a 7 – 5 win. Rick Ankiel helped the Braves get back in the game with 6 walks and 5 wild pitches in the first 2 2/3 innings, contributing to 4 Atlanta runs.
Glavine started game 2, and lasted only 2 1/3 innings, allowing 7 runs on the way to a 10 – 4 loss. Darryl Kile allowed 2 runs in 7 innings for the Cardinals.
The Braves dropped the final game 7 – 1; Kevin Millwood could not get out of the 4th, allowing 4 runs. Jim Edmonds hit his 2nd homer of the series to support a Cardinals bullpen game. Garrett Stephenson allowed 3 hits and a run in 3 2/3 innings, and 4 relievers held the Braves hitless over the the final 5 1/3.
The Mets went on to defeat the Cardinals in the NLCS as a wild card, before falling to the Yankees in the World Series, 4 games to 1. San Francisco’s Jeff Kent won the NL MVP award, and Arizona’s Randy Johnson was named the Cy Young winner. Andruw and Maddux were awarded Gold Gloves, and Chipper was a Silver Slugger.
Thanks for the memories,
’00 2000 Atlanta Braves.