The Atlanta Braves, at 94-68 (.580), were not supposed to be here. A team that had finished last in 1988, 1989, and 1990, the Braves were in what was believed to be a long rebuilding process. At mid-season, the Braves were hovering around .500 and 9.5 games behind the first place Dodgers, but in a thrilling pennant race the Braves captured the divisional crown on the second to last day of the season. The Braves were the second highest-scoring team in the NL (behind Pittsburgh), and their offense was led by Terry Pendleton, the batting champion and league MVP. Other key Brave hitters included David Justice, the 1990 Rookie of the Year (.275 21 HRs 87 RBI), and Ron Gant (.251 32 HRs 105 RBI and 34 steals), who was a 30-30 man for the 2nd year in a row. The Braves were not a great offensive team, but had a very deep bench, allowing manager Bobby Cox to platoon effectively at shortstop, second base, first base, and in the outfield.
The Braves' pitching staff had a 3.49 ERA, 3rd best in the NL (behind the Dodgers and Pirates), and was the mainstay of this team. Tom Glavine won the Cy Young Award, tying for the National League lead in wins (20) and having the third best ERA (2.55). Other Braves starters included John Smoltz (14-13 3.80 ERA), Steve Avery (18-8 3.38 ERA), and Charlie Leibrandt (15-14 3.49 ERA). The Braves bullpen was a good one, with Kent Mercker, Marvin Freeman, and Mike Stanton the main set-up guys for closer Alejandro Pena, a mid-season acquisition from the Mets, who would save 11 games down the stretch from the Braves with a 1.40 ERA.By BR Bullpen