Braves News: Chris Sale wins pitcher of the month, Olson heating up, and more

The Braves are looking forward to a fresh start in June after a tough experience in May.
Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

It was a tough month for the Atlanta Braves in May as things didn't go their way. Injuries started to stockpile and just when there seemed to be hope on the horizon, they lost MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The offense scuffled, failed to find consistency, and ended May with a 13-14 record. Atlanta is seven games behind the Phillies for the NL East lead but currently holds the first wild card spot.

However, it wasn't all bad for the Braves as they received some of the best pitching performances imaginable from the top of the rotation. Fans wouldn't have expected this to be the case after losing Spencer Strider after two games with a UCL injury and Max Fried's horrific start to the season.

Luckily, one of Atlanta's most notable off-season trade acquisitions has led the charge for the Braves' rotation thus far.

Chris Sale's remarkable performance earns him NL Pitcher of the Month

Coming into the 2024 season, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Chris Sale. He squashed any concern fans may have had by being one of the best parts of the early season.

However, May has arguably been one of his best months of baseball ever. Sale posted a 0.56 ERA and 0.78 WHIP through 32 innings (five starts) with two runs allowed, two walks, and 45 strikeouts. Those are absurd numbers for Chris but it's no surprise as he's proven when he's healthy, no one is better on the mound.

That performance earned Sale the NL Pitcher of the Month honors and it's the fifth time he's been awarded that honor in his career.

More impressively, Sale's monthly performance is one of the best in Braves history since 1910. His 0.56 ERA was the lowest monthly ERA by an Atlanta pitcher with at least 30 innings pitched and 45 strikeouts.

The Atlanta southpaw currently has an overall ERA of 3.06 after 67.2 innings (11 starts) with 10 walks and 86 strikeouts. He has a 2.49 FIP, a 1.9 WAR, a 30% whiff rate, and a 3.7% walk rate. Sale's 86 strikeouts is the ninth most in all of Major League Baseball. The only stats listed as average are his fastball run value and fastball velocity.

It's absolutely incredible to see how impressive his numbers are right now. He has looked like the Cy Young Chris Sale through most of the season and hopefully, that continues the rest of the season.

Matt Olson's plate performance is trending in the right direction

It hasn't been a great year for Matt Olson after shattering the franchise records for homers and RBI last season. He looked lost at the plate and couldn't find any luck as hard-hit balls were often caught or just missed.

In the first 32 games of the season, Matt batted .197 with eight doubles, one triple, three homers, 16 RBI, 18 walks, and 35 strikeouts. The walks showed he could get on base but it wasn't consistent.

Seeing 18 walks is encouraging but the lack of homers and runs driven in stinks. In his last 25 games, Olson has a line of .295/.340/.547 with 28 hits including six doubles, six homers, 17 RBI, six walks, and 28 strikeouts. He also has a 148 wRC+ over that period as well.

Even more impressively, Matt is batting .324 with seven extra-base hits and a .988 OPS over his last 10 games. It's safe to say Atlanta's slugging first baseman has figured some things out and is finally back to his normal self.

Chadwick Tromp optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett

Atlanta was lucky to have Chadwick Tromp available to fill in as their backup catcher during the absence of Sean Murphy. However, that time has ended as the Braves optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett after Sunday's win over the Athletics.

Tromp had a .250 average over the 19 games he played with Atlanta. He had 13 hits including six doubles, six RBI, one walk, and 17 strikeouts. He was able to help the Braves out defensively behind the mound and helped the starting staff succeed.

The Braves haven't announced a corresponding move just yet for Tromp and the active roster sits at 25 players currently. The team could opt for a bench bat or add another arm to the bullpen to allow the team to have plenty of options. Once the move is announced, we will have that information for you.

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