For just the second time since 1991, the Atlanta Braves didn't advance to the National League Championship Series. Tom Glavine suffered two losses in the team's five-game Division Series loss to Barry Bonds and the Giants. Gary Sheffield, who was acquired in a January trade with the Dodgers, solidified the middle of the lineup that also included Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones. Chipper led the Atlanta Braves in batting average (.327), on-base-percentage (.435) and slugging percentage (.536). As for Andruw, he hit a team-leading 36 homers to give him his fourth consecutive 30-plus homer season. Disappointing offensive seasons from free-agent acquisition Vinny Castilla and Javy Lopez denied the Braves the chance of having one of the most potent lineups in team history.
The emergence of rookie southpaw Damian Moss and the reemergence of a dominant Kevin Millwood allowed the pitching staff to post the NL's best ERA (3.13) for the ninth time in the past 12 years. Greg Maddux, who won 16 games to join Cy Young as the only pitchers to ever win at least 15 games for 15 straight seasons, led the Atlanta Braves with a 2.56 ERA. Tom Glavine stumbled toward the end of the season, but still matched Millwood for the team lead in wins (18). John Smoltz, who set a National League single-season saves record with 55, anchored the game's best bullpen. Veteran relievers Darren Holmes and Chris Hammond, who posted a 0.95 ERA in 75 innings, both made miraculous returns to the Majors. Holmes had missed the previous season after having back surgery and Hammond had retired in 1998, only to return to play in the minors in 2001.
The team's 101 wins allowed manager Bobby Cox to become the first National League manager to record at least 100 or more wins five different times. Cox, who also posted his 1800th career win during the season, guided his team to its 11th consecutive division title. A stretch beginning on May 15, which saw the team win 60 of 80 games, allowed them to claim the division by 19 games and clinch earlier (Sept. 9) than they ever had.
Proving many critics wrong, the Atlanta Braves overcame many early-season injuries and offseason losses to win their 13th consecutive division title.
Bolstered by a rotation that was led by Jaret Wright and Russ Ortiz, the Braves posted the Major Leagues' best staff ERA for the 10th time in 13 seasons.
Johnny Estrada proved to be an All-Star while filling Javy Lopez's shoes and youngsters like Charles Thomas and Nick Green provided a much-needed midseason spark that enabled the Atlanta Braves to escape their early-season struggles.
Bobby Cox became the ninth manager to reach 2,000 career wins and John Smoltz set the franchise's all-time saves record.