For all of the talk about how the Braves need a top-of-the-rotation starter, the guysÂ currently under contract are doing pretty damn well. Last night, Mike Minor pitched aÂ gem to shut down a potent Cardinals offense. Today, Julio Teheran upstaged fellowÂ youngster Joe Kelly to give the Braves a series win. Perhaps the current members of theÂ Braves rotation have grown annoyed at the recent chatter. Perhaps there already areÂ two top-of-the-rotation arms in Atlanta.
Whatever the case, Teheran was fantastic this afternoon. He ran into some 1st inningÂ trouble, when Matt Holliday doubled and Allen Craig walked, but a nice snag on a YadierÂ Molina line drive got him out of trouble. And then it was cruise control. Over the next 6Â innings the 22-year old surrendered a lone hit while striking out 6. He didn’t walk anyoneÂ else either. This was as good as Teheran has looked since the Pirates game in June, andÂ it came against one of the best offenses in baseball. The kid looks legit.
On the other side of the ledger, the Braves offense did what it always seems to do:Â strand a prodigious number of runners on base. Fredi Gonzalez put together a greatÂ lineup; and Cardinals pitchers posted only two 1-2-3 innings on the day; and even oneÂ of those necessitated a double play to remain so. But Atlanta just couldn’t get anyoneÂ home. Evan Gattis stranded a runner in the 1st; Andrelton Simmons and Teheran eachÂ stranded 2 runners in the 2nd; Simmons stranded 2 more runners in the 4th; BrianÂ McCann and Dan Uggla each stranded a runner in the 6th; and Justin Upton, who looksÂ broken again, hit into a bases-loaded double play to end the 7th. As in so many gamesÂ gone by, Braves hitters Â couldn’t get the timely hit to take the lead.
Until the 8th, anyway. In that inning Atlanta once again loaded the bases, only this timeÂ Simmons came through with a 2-run double. That was it for the scoring, though, as JoseÂ Constanza fell back into line and stranded 2 more guys on the very next at bat. Still, we’llÂ take it. Andrelton has struggled mightily at the plate – and it’s hard to say his .239 BABIPÂ is all tough luck, as a 19% infield fly percentage will suppress that number – but veryÂ quietly, he’s having a decent month with the bat. Hopefully the power he has shown thisÂ month will stick around, because the on-base skills aren’t going to arrive anytime soon.Â Good game, Simba.
Let’s enjoy this win. For all of the recent mediocrity, the Braves now have a winningÂ record against each NL team above water. Now, if only we could figure out how to beat the Brewers,Â Mets, and Padres…