Nationals 1, Braves 2

ESPN Box Score

Not as much of a slog as last night’s overtime loss, and the result was far more enjoyable.

At first, it looked quite similar to last night. Julio Teheran did not look as sharp as he did in his previous start against the Nats. He put on the first two men he saw in each of the first three innings of the game. Not pretty. But he was able to get out of all of these jams (and others…) in part with some unlikely defensive help. The Braves had theirBobby Cox Sunday Special lineup in, and give the marathon last night, it made sense. The only full-time guys who started were Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson. This means that in the outfield corners, you had Oso Blanco in left and Joey Terds in right. This is not the group that has given Atlanta one of the best outfield defenses in the majors. What you might expect from this is miscues like the dropped popup in the 3rd that, with runners on first and second, should obviously have been an infield fly. It didn’t hurt the Braves because after he and Gattis couldn’t decide who was supposed catch it, Paul Janish (getting the start at SS) managed to get the force at 3rd. What you would not expect was that both Gattis and Joey Terds would have great running catches to keep Teheran’s sheet clean. Good job, boys!

The offense seemed to have some rhythm against Nats starter Geo Gonzalez. Things looked good in the first after BJ Upton walked and stole second in front of Phil Gosselin, getting the start at 2B, who recorded his first major league hit by beating out what looked at first like a sacrifice bunt. Two runs would eventually come across and, despite threatening a couple other times, that would be all the Braves would get against Gonzalez.

But that would be enough. Scott Downs and David Carpenter combined to give up a run in the 7th, but Jordan Walden was great in the 8th and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side, giving up only an infield single. Best part was, the last out was a check-swing punch-out of Bryce Harper. It was a close thing, which meant we got to watch him whine to the 3rd base umpire as the Braves congratulated each other on the field.

So not quite a sweep, but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. And the Dodgers lost, which is also nice.

53 thoughts on “Nationals 1, Braves 2”

  1. Sorry for the late recap, folks. All that I’ll say in my defense is that a buddy of mine was having his bachelor party last night, and I didn’t get back home until 6. PM. Today.

  2. We kill at home. We need to be emotionally playing for home field advantage right now. I like our chances much better in the playoffs if we have it.

  3. JC’d at end of last thread…

    RE: Kimbrel workload

    I’m not really worried about it. Fredi always makes sure not to use him on four-in-a-row. At some point, we’ll win some games by more than three or we’ll lose a few more and he’ll get more rest. You had to use him today and yesterday, and it didn’t make sense not to on Friday. You had to use him in Game 3 vs. Philly, and it didn’t make sense not to in Game 2. Before that, he had five days of rest, including a game that we could’ve pitched him, but didn’t.

    RE: Harper comments about Braves fans

    While I think it’s possible he’s sarcastically trolling us, it’s kind of sad that we’re so conditioned to think that we Braves fans suck as a collective that when someone tries to complement us, we refuse to accept the compliment thinking that no one could possibly think that.

    As the Nats have been our main division rival the last two years, every time the Nats have come down here we’ve had good crowds. Additionally, every time we go up there, the crowd is at least 25 percent Braves fans. He’s only really been in the league since we’ve been playoff-caliber again so he might never have come in here with us out of it and the stadium a wasteland. He saw what happened during the infield-fly incident last year (and given his personality, it seems likely he approved). He comes in this week and the entire city sneers at the site of him, even when the entire dumb situation is probably our team’s fault. I think it’s entirely possible that he’s impressed with us as fans.

    I mean, as Sam said, the entire perception of us as horrible fans reached a head 12-13 years ago, and he’s 20 years old. The 2001 NLCS probably doesn’t mean much to him.

  4. The “Braves fans are complacent” argument from the usual media outlets rolled over and died when the Yankees built the most sterile stadium in the history of American sports.

  5. mavery – good recap and all, but what we really want to read about is a bachelor party that rolls into the next dusk.

    Can Hangover IV be far behind?

  6. @4 I am not faulting Fredi and I agree with you. It’s more of a forward statement.

    In respect of the fans perception, I think we can see the Braves fans are becoming more and more vocal since the last year’s wild card game.

  7. And yeah, I think some time in the wilderness has given Braves fans a new edge. I myself am a grown man with a wife and a career and I was 9 when 1991 happened.

    And have I mentioned the 20,000 empty seats nightly at Citi Field? I could go on.

  8. @4

    To be clear, I thought the first Harper quote (“I love these fans”) might have been sarcasm because it didn’t make any sense to me. He’d been mercilessly booed during each at-bat, and the crowd had cheered loudly when he’d been pegged by a pitch. If I was in his position, love definitely wouldn’t be the emotion I’d be feeling.

    I didn’t say the second quote ( “If I was playing for a team like this and had a crowd like that, I’d be stoked to play here every night too”) was sarcasm. I just said “Hmmm” because I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I thought the crowds in this series were pretty good in terms of energy and enthusiasm. But even then, I’ve never heard the national media ever say anything positive about them, so I was surprised when an opposing player on a rival team offered words of praise.

  9. There’s definitely a different air about the stadium recently than was there in 2001. Some of it was scheduling and game times (4:05 starts on weekdays, with rush hour traffic, so Fox could have the Yankees on in prime time, etc.) But there was some “we’ll show up when you get to the WS, the early rounds bore us” complacency after 10 straight years of going to the playoffs.

    Of course, you can’t pull a ML team that had a weekday, 4:00 local start time for playoff games that didn’t have a “less than capacity crowd” for those games, barring it being their first or second year in the playoffs after a long absence.

  10. @10 When some people questioned if it was sarcastic, Kevin McAlpin was pretty adamant on Twitter that Harper was speaking in a serious manner when he made both statements.

    If I was a Nats’ fan, I’d be pretty ticked, as his second statement was essentially throwing them under the bus. You could read it as “I don’t play for a team like this in front of a crowd like that, and therefore I’m not stoked to play every night at home.” I’m sure he was just complimenting Braves’ fans without meaning to insult his own fans, but I wouldn’t be very happy to hear a Brave say something like that about another team’s fans. I mean, can you imagine if Chipper had made those exact same statements about playing at Shea where he was always booed heavily? Braves’ fans could probably be blamed as being as lethargic during that late 90s when the Mets were our biggest rival as Nats’ fans are now.

    Also, beating the Nats never gets old. Ever.

  11. David Justice made comments like that, was right about it, BACKED IT UP, and STILL hasn’t been forgiven by some.

  12. I may be crazy, but I’d love to see the Braves work a package deal for Gonzalez/Harper. Trade BJ and a pitcher and throw in some cash or prospects or something.

  13. #9
    With Harvey, Mets fans have something to cheer about once every 5 days. But kinda hard to get fired up about a club that’s 10 under .500 & 19 games outta 1st.

    All true & I really don’t care about attendance that much, but Braves fans from that era earned their reputation. The 2001 NLCS games 3/4/5 vs. Arizona were Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights & there were nearly 30,000 empty seats that weekend. I had extra tickets for all 3 games & couldn’t give them away.

  14. @14 I may be crazy…

    Should have stopped there while it was debatable instead of proceeding to prove it definitively.

  15. @18: So the board has become a place to belittle each other? Take your BS like that elsewhere. Heck, I can’t even rosterbate in peace anymore. What Sam said was funny. Yours was demeaning.

  16. This is strange, but it’s occurred to me that every National League qualifier except the Cardinals had trouble selling out home playoff games in 2001. The Astros failed to sell out either of their NLDS games, and although the D’backs sold out their World Series games, they were well short of capacity in the games before that. And unlike the Braves, those teams’ fanbases didn’t have enough previous postseason appearances to possibly justify a “I’ll just save my money for the World Series” attitude. I’m not sure what to make of that data.

  17. @20 – No doubt about it. But you do start getting in to murky water when you start caring what kinds of people these guys are. Andruw Jones. Bobby Cox…

  18. Well, Otis Nixon was a guy you’d find getting his dinner out of your garbage cans. That’s kind of like having him over, in a way.

  19. @19 Well, I thought it was funny, and offered it only in that vain. We aren’t all blessed with the comedic tough, I guess. The thought never occurred to me you were being serious, or could possibly get defensive over such a thought.

    But I’m not sure how you expect people to react to a suggestion that we trade our albatross for their star. Perhaps you’d prefer kudos for having a, shall we say, “expansive” view of reality?

  20. Well, near as I can tell, at least 7 people read the comment, and only one person was a dickhead, so, I dunno. I think you’ve got at least 6 examples of how to react to it.

  21. In other news, the Red Sox somehow managed to make me root for the Yankees tonight. That was a first.

  22. Knowing how much the baseball god loves the Braves, we would probably face the Cardinals for the divisional series.

  23. ambivalence issues from Bryce
    when boos not intended as nice
    he sees as a passion
    through which he can fashion
    respect for this salty advice.

  24. @32, Dempster, like every other man who responds to a perceived slight to their dignity with violence without warning from a position of relative safety, is a craven yellow coward. Anyone would look good by comparison.

  25. @40, agreed. In fact, I think when the DH comes to NL baseball I may be done with MLB altogether.

  26. I think that if there’s one thing to be learned from last night’s unpleasantness, it’s that Joe Girardi was mildly displeased with the situation. I mean, good lord, he went absolutely nuts. He almost punched Brian O’Nora in the face. He was still visibly pissed after the game had ended, four hours after the incident occurred. Depending on how MLB interprets the wild arm-swinging near O’Nora’s face and his comments after the game, he could certainly find himself taking a long weekend.

  27. David Justice vs Halle Berry pr campaigns aside, Otis Nixon had an addiction problem. All Andruw ever did was bang two strippers at once, in his single early 20s. How on earth is that a demerit?!

  28. @40/41 I’m with you guys. I go to at least a couple of Mariners games a year, just to stay in touch with the experience, and the games themselves are like three hours of drifting on a smooth lake in a canoe — not unpleasant, but the sameness can lead you to nod off. NL games, to my way of thinking, are much more dynamic; there’s a dramatic rhythm to each lineup that keeps everything seat-edgy.

    When I was in film school, the best class I took was a Visual Expression course taught by a legendary production designer whose first principle was that of contrast and affinity: whether you’re talking about lighting, editing, sound, color, shape, movement in frame, etc., elements which are similar in close proximity to each other decrease the energy and excitement of the dramatic experience, whereas elements that are different increase it, and the more different ones you throw at the viewer in a given period of time, the more exciting (tense, etc.) everything becomes. (I recommend Klute and Star Wars as dissimilar but excellent examples.)

    I’ve thought ever since then that the same principle applies to the DH and its effects on games. Too much batter affinity in AL games for my taste, whereas NL games have multiple moments of contrast thanks to the pitcher’s inclusion as a batter. Much more exciting and tense, for my money.

  29. I know it’s heretical but I’m actually in favor of the DH for the NL if we’re not going to let pitchers bat in college or the minors. Having an automatic out in the lineup is not exciting in any way to me. An NL team with good hitting pitchers would have a nice little advantage over the field, but the way pitchers are developed the “good hitting” part dies of neglect in the minor leagues.

  30. 21 – DN beat me to the punch but I’m sure there was some 9/11 hangover involved with the low attendance numbers across the board.

    14 – DG Sorry but you suggested (I guess seriously) that we could trade probably one of the 10 least valuable commodities (BJ) in baseball for one of the 10 most valuable (Harper). You mentioned throwing in a pitcher and some prospects, but the names presented were worthy of ridicule. Not mean-spirited ridicule (not that it was mean-spirited) but ridicule nonetheless.

  31. @46- Yeah, I was referencing this past Christmas morning when he choked his wife and threatened to kill her.

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