Apr 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder B.J. Upton (right) and right fielder Jason Heyward (center) and second baseman Dan Uggla (26) congratulate each other after defeating the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Braves won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Morning Chop: Braves News 4/14



Braves vet Hudson outduels Nationals’ ace Strasburg

Apr 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson (15) throws during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Hudson and Stephen Strasburg were so sharp, it became evident very early there would be little margin for error.

The Washington Nationals made the game’s most costly miscue, and that helped the Atlanta Braves emerge with a 3-1 victory Saturday in a showdown between the top two teams in the NL East.

Hudson pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, Evan Gattis hit a third-inning homer after an errant two-out throw, and the Braves escaped with their eighth straight win.

Strasburg (1-2) didn’t give up an earned run in his six innings of work, but Atlanta got all the offense it needed when Washington third basemanRyan Zimmerman threw wildly to first base after fielding Justin Upton‘s grounder and Gattis followed with his fourth home run in eight big league games.

“In close games like today, well-pitched games, it’s the little things you have to do that win the game,” Hudson said. “They made one mistake that cost them the game, and we were pretty solid all day.”


The Star Ledger

MLB Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves move to No. 1

1. Atlanta Braves (9-1)

Only stopped by Cliff Lee.

2. Washington Nationals (7-3)

Hosting Braves in intriguing weekend series.

3. Oakland A’s (9-2)

Won nine straight.

4. Texas Rangers (7-4)

Ageless Lance Berkman off to torrid start.

5. San Francisco Giants (7-4)

Hunter Pence has 11 hits, 11 Ks in 11 games.


District On Deck

Moments That Mattered: Game 11

Most Important Nationals Pitch: Evan Gattis‘ two-run home run (-0.216)

It also stands to reason that the hit that gave Atlanta two thirds of their runs would be the most influential Nats pitch. Gattis has been a beast this year, with four home runs, and the Braves consider his bat valuable enough that they put him at first base when Gerald Laird caught the first game of the series. Curiously, he has hit four home runs and scored only four runs, meaning he is the only one who has driven him in. He took advantage of Ryan Zimmerman‘s error and gave the Braves all the runs they would need to win.

Chump of the Game: Adam LaRoche (-0.130) grounded into a double play after Zimmerman singled to start the second inning. Ordinarily, that alone would not merit being named the Chump, but on a day like today, it was death by a thousand cuts for the Nats offense, and the double play was the deepest. Brave Juan Francisco (-0.108) was 0-4 with two Ks.


SB Nation Talking Chop

Braves Batting Strikeout Tracker: Through 10 Games

Obviously, the team is doing pretty well overall. I don’t think anyone will complain about the team’s record, despite some key injuries and slumps. But how is their strikeout total doing?

So far, the Braves have 92 strikeouts, which is a lot. It’s actually only 3rd in MLB, though: the Astros have a whopping 108 and the Reds have 94. Still, those 92 Ks put the Braves nearly on pace to break the 2010 Diamondbacks‘ record. Here’s how this year’s Braves compare to that D’backs team and last year’s Braves team, which holds the franchise K record

….The one player for whom strikeouts seem to have been a problem is B.J. Upton. His K rate is easily the highest on the team, and he’s been struggling. The other slumping player, Jason Heyward, has actually been striking out at a low rate; perhaps he should be sacrificing some contact in order to hit the ball harder? Other than Chris Johnson, whose strikeout rate is lower than expected, everyone else is fairly close to expectations.




Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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