Just when we all begin to expect a Barve performance (runners on second and third in the 3rd, one out, and no runs end up scoring…we’d all seen THAT one before), the Braves show up and remind us that even bad teams win once a week and mediocre teams actually win more than that. You have to go back to the Braves winless west coast trip at the beginning of August to find a week in which the Braves did not win at least three games, so if I were the Rangers, I would be very worried about the matchup this weekend. (Actually, if I were the Rangers, I’d be plenty worried about much more than that, but this isn’t a Rangers blog and so I won’t get into the problems that come with a 100-loss team.)
This game encapsulates why I cannot take the Nationals seriously. Aaron Harang now has a better record than Stephen Strasburg (I know, I know, wins and loses don’t really tell you anything at all, but as long as they are still counted and the Braves trash heap find looks better than the Nationals “ace”, I am going to point it out.) Strasburg gave up a home run to B.J. Upton—no, wait, I only watched the first three innings of this game, that can’t be right—it is right, unless my eyes are deceiving me. This is why Stephen Strasburg cannot have nice things, like wins against the Braves.
Aaron Harang rediscovered his pixie dust and allowed one unearned run over seven innings, despite the fact that the Braves did not have an error. A passed ball by the Braves Defensive Catcher TM provided that little oddity and allowed the Nationals to tie the game after B.J.’s homer. The Braves, however, decided that today was as good of a day as any to have their weekly burst of runs, and they came right back with two runs in the 6th; a Freddie Freeman double and Justin Upton single provided the first, and after Upton was caught stealing and Regression Chris Johnsoned, Tommy La Stella doubled and Christian Bethancourt singled for the second.
Since three runs are not enough offense for a true 2014 Offensive Burst, Aaron Harang led off the following inning with a single (maybe he can play centerfield and lead off every day?), a Jason Heyward single and Phil Gosselin walk loaded the bases for Freddie, who was robbed of an extra base hit and had to settle for a sacrifice fly. The Younger Upton came up big for the second straight inning with a two-run double.
The Nationals tacked on a meaningless run in the bottom of the 9th when some guy homered off of Craig Kimbrel, who was getting some work in and always seems to give up a run or two when he’s in the game in a non-save situation. That was, apparently, the first time that Kimbrel’s curve ball has been homered off of in his career. He’s pretty special.
That was all the Nationals got and the Braves managed to leave D.C. without getting swept. Well done Big Handsome; way to make the Gnats look gnatty. The Pirates won today, and the Brewers are currently winning, so the race for the second Wild Card spot remains as tight as ever.
Natspo(s) delenda est, semper et ad infinitum.