Good Morning Braves’ Fans!
Great game last night! We saw some great production from the bats (although I said last night, and maintain, that Taylor Jordan was hanging much of his pitches, and that the real test for players like B.J. Upton will be facing the likes of pitchers like Gio Gonzalez, who the Braves will face today). If struggling Braves’ hitters can hit well facing good pitching, that’s the real litmus test. That said, the Braves played well behind an Alex Wood (and a bullpen) who weren’t quite pitching like Alex Wood and the pen are capable. Strange games lately for the Braves! Two baseballs stuck under the fence in just a few days by the same batter? Twilight Zone stuff! Check out the boxscore from last night’s game…
|Jason Heyward RF||4||0||0||0||1||1||.140||.554||29||14||3||0|
|B.J. Upton CF||5||1||2||1||0||0||.167||.496||11||8||3||0||HR|
|Freddie Freeman 1B||5||2||3||1||0||0||.425||1.236||22||13||4||0||HR|
|Chris Johnson 3B||5||0||0||0||0||4||.244||.655||22||17||1||2|
|Justin Upton LF||4||2||3||1||0||0||.366||1.069||9||8||1||0||2·2B|
|Dan Uggla 2B||4||1||2||2||0||1||.195||.471||15||10||0||0|
|Evan Gattis C||4||0||3||1||0||0||.286||.750||13||11||14||1||2B|
|Andrelton Simmons SS||3||0||0||0||1||0||.290||.637||14||4||1||1||IW|
|Alex Wood P||2||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||6||5||0||1|
|Ryan Doumit PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||.143||.343||5||4|
|Anthony Varvaro P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jordan Walden P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jordan Schafer PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||2||2|
|David Carpenter P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Craig Kimbrel P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Alex Wood, W (2-1)||5||6||1||1||3||8||1||1.89||22||103||64||31||13||20||4||7||2|
|Jordan Walden, H (1)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||4.50||4||21||14||6||3||5||0||2||0|
|David Carpenter, H (4)||1||3||1||1||0||1||0||5.40||6||24||16||10||1||5||2||3||2|
|Craig Kimbrel, S (5)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.59||4||22||14||7||3||4||2||1||0|
Umpire Angel Hernandez smoked by line drive, fans cheers his despair
Given their sometimes inconvenient positioning on the field, it’s almost inevitable that an umpire will find himself in the line of fire and at some point wear a line drive. Unfortunately for veteran Angel Hernandez that moment came during Friday night’s game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
As the second base umpire, Hernandez was positioned on the infield grass to the first base side of the bag in case of a stolen base attempt. It’s basically the prime position for a field umpire to get hit, because he’s the closest to the plate he’ll be the entire game and he’s wide open on the field of play. Sure enough, Nate McLouthsmoked one that was ticketed for right center field but ended up clipping Hernandez’s left ankle.
It was a bad break for the Nationals. With Bryce Harper in motion, he would have easily advanced to third if the ball made it through. It didn’t, and since the umpires are considered in play the play continued unimpeded, meaning he was stuck at second base.
Tomahawk Take Editorial Note: Oh, now suddenly with a few injuries, just days into the season, the Nationals now won’t win the NL East?
Nationals’ injuries will cost in NL East race
Remember 2012, when a Nationals-Braves series was a baseball jamboree to be highlighted in yellow weeks in advance? When the teams combined for 192 wins? When each went to the playoffs? The future was bright then, and full of stars. You’d see Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons and Craig Kimbrel suit up for Atlanta, or see Bryce Harper,Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann for the Nationals.
The bright future past gave way to a somewhat mediocre 2013. Zimmermann and Gonzalez experienced slight regression while Strasburg and Harper were merely excellent rather than otherworldly — with Harper missing 40-plus games to boot — leading to a disappointing 86 Nats wins, four games back of even the second wild-card slot. The Braves did everything right and ran away with the division by 10 games, but it wasn’t the same, at least for nonpartisans, as a fully competitive, hard-fought division.
Head-scratchers: Clippard vs. Braves, Pena vs. Nats
Before facing the Braves became an ongoing nightmare for Tyler Clippard these past two seasons, the Nationals reliever actually had a great deal of success against them. The kind of success the Washington setup man continues to have against most other teams, just not the Braves. Oh, man, not the Braves.
Clippard gave up a tying home run to Justin Upton in the eighth inning Friday, the eighth time in nine appearances that he gave up at least one run against the Braves since the beginning of the 2013 season.
The veteran right-hander was 0-3 with a 9.72 ERA and .344 opponents average in those nine appearances against the Braves, with 11 hits including four homers allowed in 8 1/3 innings.
Justin Upton follows through on his game-tying homer off Tyler Clippard on Friday.
Against every other team in that span, Clippard is 7-1 with a 1.82 ERA and microscopic .114 opponents’ average in 70 appearances, allowing just 30 hits including seven homers in 69-1/3 innings.
Atlanta Braves Will Regret Jason Heyward Contract
When Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren went on a spending spree this offseason, many of the Braves’ young stars were rewarded with long-term deals. The team locked down Craig Kimbrel for four years, Julio Teheran for six, Andrelton Simmons for seven, and Freddie Freeman for eight.
However, Jason Heyward signed just a two-year deal solely to prevent the two sides from having to go through arbitration. As good as Kimbrel, Teheran, Simmons and Freeman are, Heyward still has the potential to be the best of the bunch. The two-year deal Heyward signed means that if his potential ever does come to fruition, it will probably happen in another uniform.
This may not be the most popular opinion among Braves fans as Heyward only has six hits in 39 at-bats so far this season. However, Heyward started off equally slow last year, hitting only .121 before having an emergency appendectomy in late April. After returning from that injury, he hit .278 for the remainder of the season and provided a needed spark at the top of the lineup.