Atlanta Braves: Ben Sheets' Comeback Has Already Exceeded Expectations

Vinny Hardy@http://twitter.com/VinnyHardyCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21:  Ben Sheets #30 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 21, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Anything else is just gravy.  

To those unfamiliar, that expression conveys the thought that more than one may have previously imagined has already occurred.  

That's exactly what's happened in the case of Ben Sheets.  One could only hope that he could make a few quality starts, hopefully avoid getting shelled, avoid getting re-injured and contribute to the rotation as best he could.

You guessed it, anything else would just be gravy.

Sheets has had more than enough gravy to go around.  In two starts, both against divisional opponents, he's gone 2-0, allowed 7 hits, 4 walks, and 11 strikeouts.

The next earned run he allows will be his first.  He's stepped up huge and has been a boost for an injury-plagued, struggling staff at a very opportune time.

Sheets tour of the NL East will continue on Friday night as Cole Hamels, his still drying contract, and the Philadelphia Phillies come into Atlanta for a weekend series.

Over the next few weeks, Sheets and the Braves should capitalize on the soft portion of the schedule and use these games as an opportunity to apply pressure on the Nationals in the NL East race.  The schedule is littered with the likes of the Phillies, Marlins, Astros, Mets, and Padres.

On August 17, the Dodgers will be the first good team Atlanta will see over the next three weeks. 

Until then, Atlanta needs to take care of business, beat all the teams they are supposed to beat, gain some ground on the Nationals and let them know they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.