ATLANTA -- After 82 games, the Braves hold a six-game NL East division lead over the Washington Nationals, a result practically any rational Atlanta fan would have gladly accepted heading into the 2013 campaign.
And the Braves have not been flawless, either (also, neither have the oft-injured Nationals), as they've battled offensive inconsistency, pitching lulls and season-ending bullpen injuries to claim the third-most wins in the National League thus far. There were spells of brilliance. There were also spells that caused utter concern, mainly for an offense that has been shut out 11 times -- seven times with the pitching staff allowing three runs or fewer, meaning winnable games left on the table.
And still, the club keep winning and holding firmly to its substantial division lead.
So, at the halfway point, the Chopcast team -- Zach Dillard, Cory McCartney and Jay Clemons -- talk pitching, the "MVB" and more Braves odds and ends. Here are the highlights:
-- What does the FOX Sports South sound booth actually look like? And why do the guys hate to resort to using it so much?
-- Should the Braves be considered a hitting- or pitching-dominant team at this point? Has the pitching warranted that label, or is the offense too explosive to ignore?
-- Who is the most valuable player on the Braves' roster? Could it be a pitcher (i.e. Mike Minor or Julio Teheran)? Does Justin Upton or Freddie Freeman take the cake?
-- Why hasn't the outfield put it all together yet?
-- What was the shrewdest move general manager Frank Wren and his staff made this offseason? Can anything top the Justin Upton-Chris Johnson deal?
-- Do the Braves' road troubles (relatively speaking) spell actual trouble down the line?