You know what's better than 11 wins in a row? TWELVE WINS IN A ROW! The Braves last lost a game on July 25th. Does anybody remember that? It was against the Mets. Everyone on that rollercoaster of fandom was whining about OOOOOH the Braves are bad on the road, and OOOOOH we can't win with these injuries, and OOOOOH why can't we get hits? That was eons ago it seems like. I had to look back at my entries from before this started, and a lot of what I was selling to the public was relaxation pills. We had an 8 game spread before this all started. We had a bad injury to a pitcher that looked to be devestating to the rotation. We had a team coming off a rather mediocre road trip against the Mets. Things look a lot different now don't they?
The Braves didn't hit well in this game. They collected all their necessary offense in the 5th inning with a Gattis 2-RBI single. That was it for run scoring. McCann, Uggla, and Teheran had hits. BJ had two hits and Justin had two hits, so both of the brothers put in some good work. The Nats went 0-5 with RISP, the Braves went 1-5 with RISP. That was the difference in the ball game. Sometimes you don't have to be great, you just have to be one better than the other guy. With the kind of pitching we got from Teheran and the bullpen, that's all it took.
The pitching was what stole the show. Teheran made a single mistake in his 6 innings of work to Bryce Harper, who jacked a solo shot to center in the 3rd inning and gave the Nats the 1-0 lead. That would also prove to be the source of some consternation as Bryce took a little too long admiring his own handiwork. As a result, Teheran decided to show Harper how a fastball felt in the broadside on his next AB in the 5th inning. There were some words exchanged, both benches and bullpens sauntered to the baseline to have a quick pow-wow, but on the whole it looked like a big boy version of a middle school dance. Both teams were just separated on different sides of the line staring at each other with hostile intent. Now of course in the big leagues, you can't SAY you hit somebody on purpose, so you have to have the normal song and dance where everyone on the Braves denies they went at Harper. That's totally ridiculous though. Julio absolutely threw at him, and he did it because Harper pimped his homer in the 3rd. Now, there could be some retaliation, but I doubt it would come in Game 3. The Nats will probably wait until next series and wait to toss at a Braves player in another scenario. That is unless either team gets a big lead. Then all bets are off.
The bullpen was it's usually stellar self, posting 3 innings of work with only a single hit. Kimbrel striking out the side, along with Walden striking out the side the inning before, was great stuff. Even better was Kimbrel striking out "Mr. Whinypants" Bryce Harper to end the game swinging. Teheran gave up the one run on 4 hits in 6 innings, and he struck out 4 while walking 2. One downside to mention was that Jason Heyward left in the very beginning of the game due to a stiff neck, but he was replaced by Gattis who got the game winning hit. So, these things seem to work out. Also, Jason didn't seem to have any problem getting off the bench to the dance in the 5th inning. I think he'll be fine. You know what else is fine? 14.5 games up in the standings with 48 to play. The Magic # is now 35.
The CPA was right on another Braves win, although slightly off on the total. Ok a lot off. Still, wins are wins. What does it think about the Zimmerman v. Medlen matchup? Can we get a sweep?
CPA Prediction Game 3: Nats 3 - Braves 1
The CPA thinks the train finally stops here. A quadruple sweep seems ridiculous, but it's still possible. The numbers favor the Nationals because Zimmerman has been so sharp against the Braves lineup, and in his only game this year he went 8 innings with only 2 hits surrendered. The problem with Zimmerman is he eats innings, and the Braves don't get to the pen. IF they can work enough pitches to remove him from the game earlier, they might have a shot late.