Amazing game last night. The CPA was actually very close to the truth on it's analysis, as this turned out to be a battle of the bullpens due to Strasburg's early struggles with pitchcount. The Braves really worked on extending ABs against the young starter, and that proved to be very effective in grinding out a couple of runs before he was over 110 pitches in the 7th inning. That meant the Braves got a crack and the sweet, juicy underbelly of the Nationals team (their bullpen). More importantly, the Nats never seem to learn from their mistakes. Who was the first pitcher they put out there on the mound to face the Braves after Strasburg left the building? Tyler Clippard. For those of you that don't know, Clippard might as well be putting it on a tee for the Braves in his previous appearances. In fact, in this year alone Clippard has 4 appearances, 4 earned runs in 3.2 innings, 6 hits, 4 walks, and a .400+ BAA. But nooooooooooo, toss him out there Davy Johnson, he's probably due.
He wasn't. Justin Upton got him into a bad count and jacked a no-doubter over the left field fence that ended up winning the game. When I say Justin's right now, folks, he's spot on. The 7 day stat total for him includes 14 hits, 3 doubles, 4 homers, 10 RBIs, and 4 walks. He's got an OPS you have to send off to NASA to calculate. Not really, but it's over 1.400 so it's huge. He's a big reason along with Freddie Freeman that the Braves won yesterday. Freeman was the guy who got 2 singles that plated both Justin and Jason to provide the other two runs. I heard recently on the radio that the Braves have tied a record for two separate 10 games plus winning streaks in the same season, held by only 5 other teams in history. That's pretty epic, and a lot of it has to do with great hitting, but also some very solid pitching when the hitting wasn't great.
The pitching was very key last night. Minor went 6 innings with 8 hits, but stayed out of big damage by only keeping it 2 total runs. Was it his best? No, I wouldn't say that. It was a solid performance that put the team in a position to win. The bullpen for the Braves, however, was completely awesome. David Carpenter danced in and out of trouble in 1.2 innings of shutout work, Avilan came into the game for a single pitch of dominance, and Walden put the save together even after letting up a leadoff hit. I'd venture to say I'd take a battle of the bullpens any day of the week with the Nats, because ours is just so much better than theirs. How much better? We're #1 in the majors, and they are 20th. So about 19 spots better in ERA.
The CPA was right and moves to 59-37. Now it looks to see what will happen in the matchup of Teheran and Gonzalez.
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 6 - Nats 3
The CPA doesn't like the historical trend of Teheran against the Nats. It's been very ugly with him giving up several multi-base hits to multiple hitters in the Nats lineup. The Braves have roughed up Gonzalez this year quite a bit, though, and they have also been on a tear offensively. Is Gonzalez due or will the Braves continue to drive up a struggling starter's ERA? The CPA thinks the Braves get to 12 in a row.