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Five Hundred Seventy Eight or A Story about the Braves and Starting Lefties

It has been a long time since the Braves had a lefty start a game....and a lot has happened between then and now.

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
Do you remember Manny Banuelos? It has been a while
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

***Disclaimer: I had very little to do with the production of this article other than a quick edit and putting a picture on it. Full credit goes to Braves Options Guy for writing this up. I personally think he did a phenomenal job and should be on the Talking Chop staff. He talks about having a “full-time job” and “family”, but he is one of us fam. Make sure to bother him about joining the staff on Twitter....his handle is @BravesOptions

September 6, 2015

That date might not meant much to anyone who wasn’t born on Sept 6 or got married or had a child that day. It probably means very little to most Braves fans as well. But it should. That’s the last day the Braves had a left-handed pitcher start a game. It was Manny Banuelos and the Braves lost to the Nationals 8-4, their 12th straight loss.

When Jaime Garcia toes the rubber for the Braves at Citi Field tonight, he’ll be the first left-handed Braves starting pitcher in 578 days. That’s 19 months or 13,872 hours or 49.9 million seconds for those keeping track at home. I decided to dig deeper into some events that have happened during that time period.

The Braves have played 188 games since that day. They are 82-106 (.436) in those games.

The major-league record for consecutive games started by right-handed pitchers is 681 by the LA Dodgers from September 24, 1992 to July 13, 1997, nearly 5 full seasons without a southpaw starter. They also hold the 3rd longest streak of this kind at 453 games all the way back in 1902-1906. The Brewers come in second at 474 games from August 28, 2013 to August 19, 2016. Trying to figure out where the Braves 188 games falls in this tally is a task I will put up to one of the readers, as I do not have the chops nor knowhow to figure it out.

The Braves have used 18 different starting pitchers, all right-handed of course:

Those 18 starting pitchers have thrown 1,048 innings.

Six different catchers have caught those 18 pitchers:

1,603 games have been started by left-handed pitchers since Sept 6, 2015, none by the Braves. The White Sox lead the way with 113 (Sale, Quintana, Rodon) followed by the Rangers with 107 (Perez, Hamels, Holland) and the Dodgers with 102 (Kershaw, Kazmir, Urias, Wood, Hill, Anderson, Ryu).

The Indians came very close to joining the Braves in this column because they’ve had just a single game started by a southpaw over the same time period – Ryan Merritt, last September during their playoff push. The Brewers have had 2 games started by lefties in that time frame. Every other team has at least 16.

In those 1,603 games, left-handed starters have thrown 8,935.2 innings & struck out 7,969 batters. Right handed starters have thrown 23,196 innings and struck out 19,770 batters.

We all know Coppy loves to make trades so let’s take a look at all the moves Coppy has made since the day Manny Banuelos last started a game for Atlanta. Coppy has made 33 trades with 19 different teams since that fateful day in the fall of 2015. Those 33 trade include 4 with the Mariners, 3 with the Rangers, and at least one with every team in the NL Central.

9 of Talking Chop’s 2017 Pre-Season Top 25 Prospects have been added to the Braves number 1 farm system since that day

This doesn’t include the recently-graduated from prospect status Dansby Swanson, who is of course Atlanta’s starting shortstop now & for the foreseeable future.

As you can see, a lot of things have happened since the last time the Braves used a left-handed starting pitcher. I think it’s safe to assume that, with 7 LHSPs in the Braves top 25 prospects, we won’t see another drought like this for a very long time.

I want to thank Eric Cole for editing this all together with pictures, formatting, and such and dropping it as a featured post with myself as the guest author. While I’m sure he’s just doing to try and finally convince me to join the Talking Chop staff, he’s a really good dude & I really appreciate all that he does. (Editor’s note: seriously me get this guy on board. -Eric)

This is @BravesOptions signing off. As always, GO BRAVES!

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