Nationals vs. Braves preview: Which outfield will prevail?
The season is young, and evaluations will be made over time. But when the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton as a free agent this offseason, then traded with Arizona for Justin, a determination was made, both internally and across baseball: The Braves’ outfield is where balls to the gap become easy outs, where shots to the warning track look, in the scorebook, like popups.
“I feel like most of the balls that stay in the yard, that aren’t going off the wall,” Heyward said, “I feel like all three of us have an opportunity to catch them.”
When the Braves come to bat in the first inning of Friday night’s series-opening game at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals will trot out Bryce Harper to left field, Denard Span to center and Jayson Werth to right. And over the weekend — as the two favorites in the National League East play the first of six intriguing series against each other, with the Braves already on a six-game winning streak — Nationals Park could serve as the stage to debatewhich outfield is the NL’s best.
“They have a very good outfield, and they’re good baseball players,” Braves General Manager Frank Wren said of the Nationals. “That’s what makes them such a tough, competitive ballclub, and I think we have players like that, too.”
Is Atlanta Braves Starter Paul Maholm’s Start For Real?
Maholm, who came over from the Chicago Cubs, had a career ERA a bit over four at the start of the season. Two games have seen him pitch 12.1 innings and he has been near flawless. A 12.1 scoreless inning streak to start the season isn’t a bad thing at all. Considering the performance of Maholm before this season, how can we expect the rest of his season to go? For example, can he keep his sharp pitching and scoreless streak going while opposing the Washington Nationals and Gio Gonzalez?
That would be a tough draw for any pitcher but so far Maholm seems like he will be up to the task. All of the Braves pitchers are pitching well right now but Maholm has been as good as anyone in baseball with a 2-0 record, a zero ERA and a WHIP below one. It just doesn’t get much better than that. TheMiami Marlins might have been an easier draw but there will be no cheap shots next time around against the Nats and Gonzalez.
Atlanta Braves Minor League Action
Gwinnett Braves 8, Charlotte Knights 9 – 10 innings
- Jose Constanza 1-5, 2B, 2 RBI, .174 AVG
- Corey Wimberly RF 2-5, 2B, .250 AVG
- Tyler Pastornicky 2B 2-5, 2B, RBI, E (1), .344 AVG
- Joey Terdoslavich 1B 1-5, HR (1), RBI, .281 AVG
- Todd Cunningham CF 2-4, BB, SB (2), .321 AVG
- Jordan Parraz DH 1-5, 2 RBI, SB (1), .250 AVG
- David Hale 4.2 IP, 8 ER, 10 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 9.31 ERA
- Ryan Buchter 2.1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA
- Wirfin Obispo 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 6.75 ERA
Todd Cunningham extended his hitting streak to 5 games, and he’s had 4 multi-hit games in that stretch, going 9-19 with a walk and 3 RBI. Tyler Pastornicky had his second straight 2 hit night, and he’s gone 5-14 with 2 doubles and a RBI in his last 3 games. Joey Terdoslavich slugged out his first homer of the year, and he’s gone 5-15 with a double, a triple, a homer, and 3 RBI in his last 3 games. David Hale struggled mightily today, allowing 8 earned runs on 10 hits and 4 walks without making it out of the 5th inning. Ryan Buchter was brilliant in relief, stranding 2 inherited runners, picking off a pair of runners, and striking out 5 over 2.1 shutout innings. Wirfin Obispo had his second straight scoreless appearance.