National League MLB Week 1 Recap: Atlanta Braves Rebuilding A Contender

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The offseason has been busy for the Atlanta Braves as they attempt to rebuild a contender. Despite trading away the likes of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Evan Gettis the Braves still sit with the best record in the National League. Now before anyone asks how they are doing it the answer is in the teams pitching.

The Braves have allowed just 13 runs over the course of their first six games this season while only scoring 29 runs in that stretch. Along with the Braves, the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies each picked up four wins over the course of their first six games.

While a few teams have gotten off to a hot start, the Washington Nationals picked up just two wins over their first six games. This comes after an offseason that saw the franchise sign the top starter in free agency to bolster a starting rotation that had already posted the top earned run average in all of baseball during the 2014 season.

Here is a quick overview of each division in the National League.

East Division: In what might be the biggest surprise in the National League the Atlanta Braves jumped out in front of the East Division. The Braves went 5-1 over the course of the first week. The team that traded away a bulk of their big league talent opened the season with a sweep at Miami before returning home to pick up two wins against the Mets before losing game six.

Following the Braves, the Mets and Phillies each split their first six games to start the season. The Phillies opened winning just one of three against Boston before picking up two wins against the defending NL East champs the Nationals. The Mets on the other hand picked up two of three in DC before losing two of three in Atlanta.

The Nationals and Mets sit at the back of the pack at just 2-4 and 1-5 but don’t worry these two teams have the talent to turn it around.

Central Division: Despite the fact the Cubs sent down their top prospect Kris Bryant this spring the team still picked up three wins over their first five games. After opening night loss on Sunday Night Baseball to Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals, the Cubs picked up wins in three of their next four games. The team’s second game of the season was a rainout against the Cardinals.

The Cincinnati Reds got off to the hottest start in the division picking up a sweep against division rivals the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds pitching staff allowed eight runs over the course of those three games. Following the Pirates series, the Reds picked up the first game against the St. Louis Cardinals before losing two straight games.

Rounding out the rest of the NL Central division in week one was the St. Louis Cardinals at 3-2 followed by the Pirates at 2-4 and the Milwaukee Brewers at 1-5.

West Division: The last division we are going to look at might be the best division in all of baseball the NL West. This division is stacked from the top to the bottom and it showed up during the first week of the season. Despite the hype surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies jumped out to 4-2 record.

The Rockies opened up the season with a three game sweep of the Brewers before going losing two of their next three games to the Cubs. As everyone continues to point to the Dodgers and Padres, the Rockies are a team that could sleep on many this year with a very talented lineup that includes Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado.

Following the Rockies sit the Padres who started the season off losing two of three at Los Angeles before returning home to take three of four games against the defending World Series Champions the San Francisco Giants. In the middle of the pact sit the Arizona Diamondbacks and Dodgers who both went 3-3 over their first six games.

The last place team in the division started off solid winning three of their first four games before losing three straight to the Padres.

Now that we have taken a look at each of the divisions around Major League Baseball we can take a look at individuals. Here is our list of top individual performers over the first week of the season.

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Adrian Gonzalez: The Dodgers first baseman got off to the hottest start of any player this season. Gonzalez became the first player in MLB history to hit five home runs in his teams first three games. That includes becoming the first player this season to hit three home runs in a game. Gonzalez hit .609 with three double, five home runs, seven runs batted in and four walks.

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Joey Votto: Votto has gotten off to a solid start this season something that should make the Reds fans very happy. The Reds first baseman picked up hits in five his first six games including three multi-hit games. In that stretch the Votto picked up one double, three home runs and eight runs batted in while hitting .333 in six games.

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DJ LeMahieu: One of the hottest hitters in the National League is the Rockies catcher. LeMahieu, is hitting .480 over the teams first six games this season with twelve hits in just 25 at bats. Much of LeMahieu’s success this season at the plate has come from his four multi-hit performances including back to back games with three hits.

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Jake Arrieta: Once a promising prospect for the Baltimore Orioles has now become a legitment starter for the Chicago Cubs. Arrieta allowed just three hits over seven innings in his one start this season against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs starter allowed zero earned runs while striking out seven Cardinals.

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Johnny Cueto: Despite failing to record a win in either of his two starts this season for the Reds, Cueto has pitched brilliant. In those two starts, Cueto was able to go 14 innings allowing just one earned run while striking out 14 hitters.

Overall the week provided us with some great plays, big hits and some excellent baseball!