Braves 4, AL-stros 0

ESPN Box Score

On June 25, 1903, Boston Beaneaters’ pitcher Wiley Piatt became the only man in MLB history to lose two complete games in one day. The 2014 team might be pretty inept, but that 1903 team took ineptitude to a new level that day. On the 111th anniversary of that demonstration of futility, fans of the franchise were treated to another game in which both starting pitchers threw gems and both starting pitchers deserved to win.

Fortunately, Alex Wood came out on top in his return to the MLB team, and the Braves have secured a road series win. In a classic pitchers’ duel, both pitchers threw first pitch strikes to nearly every hitter and the innings zipped merrily along. Collin McHugh went 7 innings, dominated everybody except Justin Upton, and struck out nine Braves. Wood countered with 7 shutout innings, giving up three hits and getting four strikeouts. He threw only 79 pitches.

As is usually the case in these types of games, both teams played some nifty defense, too. Andrelton Simmons, naturally, made the most impressive play. If you’re a fan of pitching and defense (and Braves’ wins), this was the game for you.

For the first six innings, base runners were at a premium. The Braves got one on the board in the second on an Evan Gattis double and a Justin Upton sac fly. Nobody really threatened again until the 7th, when Justin Upton, who appears to once again be in one of his patented hot streaks and is therefore in scoring position when he’s in the batter’s box, hit a two-run home run to give the Braves some breathing room.

In the 8th, B.J. Upton doubled off of Kyle Farnsworth, made it to 3rd after Balkin’ Bob Davidson called Darin Downs for a balk, and scored on a Tommy La Stella groundout. La Stella hasn’t been getting many hits recently, but he has put together some great at-bats. He’s patient, has a good eye, and makes the pitcher work. His approach is kind of a nice change.

The Braves played the last two innings without Freddie Freeman for the first time all season, after Freddie came out of the game after he was hit on the elbow with a pitch. Here’s hoping his leaving the game was just a precautionary measure.

Rookies Shae Simmons and Juan Jaime finished up the game with a perfect inning apiece, striking out four of the six hitters they faced. This game only lasted 2:33. I suppose the Astros are still learning what it means to be an AL team. The Braves go for the sweep tomorrow at 2:10.

Natspo(s) delenda est.

18 thoughts on “Braves 4, AL-stros 0”

  1. B.J. is 2 for 8 with 2 runs scored and an RBI as leadoff the last two games. Almost more impressive, he has only struck out once in those plate appearances. Both of those hits are for extra bases.

    La Stella is 0 for 7 with 0 runs scored and an RBI with a walk as the 2-hole hitter. The numbers don’t look great, but his at bats have looked good. He has carried the counts deep and hit the ball hard the last few times. Also, the only strikeout during these two games was a called strike on a full count that was 8 inches off the plate.

    Here is to hoping this combo of B.J. and La Stella at the top continues to get better.

  2. I’d love to see Kyle Kubitza get a call should Freeman have to sit for a while, but I’d love it more if Freeman doesn’t have to sit for a while. Kyle raised his OPS up to .872 today with 2 doubles and a walk. Sounds like the making of a legit prospect.

    By the way, Ernesto Mejia has a .936 OPS in 27 games for the Seibu Lions.

    Other Minor League notes:
    1. Cody Martin pitched a 7 inning complete game giving up 1 run on 3H and 2BB.
    2. Phillip Gosselin is now hitting .336 on the year.
    3. Chasen Shreve is a lights out lefty at MS who has struck out 62 in 46 innings, and get this….7 walks.
    4. Kyle Wren is now batting .300 with a .364 OBP. He has 33 steals, but’s been caught 9 times.

  3. I long to live in the magical world where you can move your players from one place in the batting order, to another place in the batting order, and change them in to totally different players.

  4. There is a space in the URL for Andrelton’s play. The “…grounder- fires…” should be “…grounder-fires…”. This is a correct link (I hope).

  5. If anyone is interested in doing a midseason top-10 prospects list, let me know: cothrjr at gmail dot com

    I wanted to get 10 lists compiled together and I have 6 commitments right now.

  6. @1

    I don’t want to take anything away from BJ’s double, but Springer took a terrible path to that ball. He is not a very good fielder.

    As a Tennessee fan, I would like to say, congrats Vandy! I am sure Stu is pumped.

  7. @8
    His speed should make him at least an average fielder in one of the corners. He hasn’t rated well thus far in the pros, but one would think he’ll be above average very soon.

  8. David Hale to start 2nd game of double-header Saturday. I like that option much more than Schlosser, especially if the Braves are going to try and sell-high on Hale.

  9. I’m glad Mejia is doing well. High-power hitters with holes in their swing often do well in Japan, where there aren’t as many upper-90s fastballs to exploit his weaknesses. (Andruw Jones is hitting .214/.352/.468 for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles this year.)

    Juan Jaime looked pretty filthy last night. If he can throw strikes with the gas he’s got, he could be a really nice middle reliever for us.

  10. For what it’s worth, last night is a good example of why I blame our offense for the dumpster fire in the bullpen. If, instead of a sac fly and an RBI groundout, we had our usual strike out or pop-up on the infield, that would have been a 2-0 game, and instead of Simmons and Jaime closing it out, we’d have had Walden and Kimbrel.. again.

    Those frustrating situational-hitting failures have a cascading effect, making everyone’s job harder down the line.

  11. That’s a fair point. That said, I’ve been a lot happier with our bullpen since Carpenter got sent down. Other than Avilan, almost everyone has looked good. It is slightly disturbing how righty-heavy we are, especially considering the devastating O’Flaherty-Venters-Wagner pen that we had a few years back, but:

    Kimbrel’s fastball seems to have ticked up a notch or two, up from his 95-96 to start the year back to his more usual 97-98.
    Walden hasn’t been great, but his velocity’s looking good and it’s good to have him back as a warm body with a hot fastball.
    Shae Simmons has been good.
    Juan Jaime has been good so far, even though with his control I wouldn’t want to bring him in with a man on base.
    Varvaro has looked a bit less shaky than usual, and he’s a good guy to have as a fourth or fifth option.

    With those improvements in middle relief, I’m hoping that we won’t have the meltdowns that we had a couple times in the last few weeks.

  12. Relief pitching is the lottery. You just put as many tickets as possible in the hamper and hope.

  13. @16 – Things is we’ve drawn some pretty amazing tickets over the last few years. Simmons and Jaime have a chance to improve our lottery odds.

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