The Brewers and Braves Combined for 48 Runs Yesterdayon September 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

The Brewers and Braves Combined for 48 Runs Yesterday

Yesterday, I wrote an article about the ugly state of Atlanta’s current rotation. Last night, their run of rough starting pitching continued when Tommy Milone gave up eight runs in just 3.1 innings. While that outing might make my piece seem timely, and almost prescient, Milone’s start proved to be immaterial because the Braves scored 11 runs in the second inning and averaged three runs per inning over next six frames. In that same piece on Atlanta’s rotation, I noted that the team has scored at least seven runs in six of its last 10 games. Yesterday, the Braves’ offense met that mark four times over, beating the Marlins 29-9. And Atlanta wasn’t alone in its offensive explosion yesterday, as earlier in the day, the Brewers beat the Tigers 19-0.

To get a sense of what the Braves and Brewers did, let’s take a quick look at the team-by-team offensive numbers produced yesterday:

Remember when the Rangers beat the Orioles 30-3 in 2007? Texas scored those 30 runs with a .600 wOBA and a 276 wRC+, both figures that are lower than what the Braves achieved yesterday. So was the Braves game the greatest offensive game in baseball history? I went back to the eight games with at least 25 runs scored by one team since 1974 (a more complete list of those games throughout MLB history can be found here) and looked at wOBA and wRC+. Here are the results:

In the last 47 seasons, no team has recorded a higher wRC+ and scored more runs than the Braves did last night, though a few teams put up a higher wRC+ while scoring fewer runs.

The Braves and Brewers had had, respectively, 1,587 and 1,494 plate appearances on the season heading into yesterday’s games. That’s somewhere around three seasons worth of playing time for an average player. Each team came to the plate about 50 times yesterday, which is roughly two weeks of playing time for a single player. Here’s how last night’s statistics changed the season totals for Atlanta:

The Braves moved up from sixth to third in wRC+ in just one night thanks to a six-point bump. To put that in terms of individual players, both Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers have a career 114 wRC+ in about 1,600 plate appearances. They would need a two-week tear better than Mike Trout‘s performance over the last two weeks (.405/.540/.919, 268 wRC+) to see a similar jump.

While the Braves leap was impressive, the Brewers’ jump was perhaps of even greater magnitude. They entered yesterday with an 82 wRC+ on the season. Here’s what a day’s work did:

The Brewers jumped from 26th to 23rd in wRC+ in one afternoon and the only thing preventing an even bigger jump was the Marlins’ three point gain in wRC+ due to their own impressive, though ultimately futile, performance against Atlanta. To compare Milwaukee’s day to an individual performance, yesterday would be like Manuel Margot (career 85 wRC+) hitting better than Mike Trout has over the last two weeks over the next 14 days.

To provide slightly more perspective, here’s how every team’s wRC+ looked through September 7 and how it looked through September 8, before yesterday’s games:

That’s what a normal day looks like 40-plus games into the season. A good week might move a team’s wRC+ six points or more, like the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Mets did from September 1 to September 8, but a good day isn’t likely to cause a huge swing. Now, let’s compare the numbers after the Braves and Brewers’ big days:

The outliers are obvious. While the Brewers have been struggling to score this season, yesterday’s game takes them from awful to merely below average. The Braves’ offense was already very good, and of late, it’s been on fire. Here’s team offense over the last two weeks:

Over the last two weeks, the Braves as a team are hitting like one of the best hitters in the game. Wednesday night punctuated what was already a statement-making sentence.

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