Braves have made the most of their opportunities against the Nationals

Once again, the mood of a baseball season has been reversed within a span of 24 hours.  Most of the frustration that had built around the Braves over the previous nine days, evaporated over the course of the nine innings played during Monday night’s 3-2 win over the Nationals.

After losing seven of their final nine games of the 10-game road trip that concluded late Sunday night in Detroit, the Braves returned to the unfamiliar surroundings of home and won their eighth straight game against the Nationals dating back to last year.

While winning each of the first four games they have played against the Nationals this year, the Braves have batted .265 and averaged 1.25 home runs per game.  In the other 21 games they have played this year, they have hit .239 and averaged 1.5 home runs per game.

We are obviously dealing with very small sample sizes here.  But the Braves have been more successful at taking advantage of their opportunities against the Nationals than they have against the other teams they have played this year.

The Braves have hit .306 (11-for-36) with runners in scoring position against the Nationals and .203 (38-for-169) with runners in scoring position in their other 21 games.

From a pitching perspective the Braves have posted a 1.70 ERA against the Nationals and a 3.54 ERA against all of their other opponents.

Since scoring four runs in the first two innings of this season series against the Braves, the Nationals have totaled three runs in the 35 innings that have followed.

Tim Hudson will attempt to extend this success when he makes his third bid for his 200th career victory tonight.   Hudson’s 15 wins against the Nationals and Mets stand as the highest totals he has recorded against any Major League club.

Hudson went an incredible 10-1 with a 1.55 ERA in his first 17 career starts against the Expos/Nationals.  He has 5-4 with a 4.65 ERA in the 10 starts that have followed.  But after allowing allowing 16 earned runs in the 18 2/3 innings he completed against the Nationals last year, he limited them to one run in seven innings at Nationals Park on April 13 —  his only start against them this year.

During Monday night’s series-opening win, the Braves showed good plate discipline against  Stephen Strasburg, who is downplaying the right forearm stiffness that manager Davey Johnson mentioned his pitcher was feeling last night.  Regardless of whether Strasburg does make his next start, this revelation has at least created reason to wonder if Strasburg’s career path will mirror the one traveled by Mark Prior.

The Nationals will send Gio Gonzalez to the mound tonight with the hope that he proves more successful than he was when he allowed the Braves seven earned runs in five innings on April 14.

While making his first career start against the Braves last year, Gonzalez allowed one hit and two earned runs over seven innings.  But the sometimes erratic Gonzalez has not completed more than five innings in any of the four starts that have followed against Atlanta.





Close it out, med dog!

How can we be excited about this team? I was, but the players have done a great job destroying the enthusiasm. I will not spend one dime on Braves’ product, go to a game, etc. until they begin to give us what they promised…A good product for many tens of millions of dollars. How unethical to purchase players at this price, try to get me to support it with my money, and then do so poorly. Major league teams, including such mediocre teams as the Rays, want the taxpayers to improve their stadiums. Even Pres Obama supports this foolishness. Unbelievable.

Um… wtf? Disagree with this entire post… and also think you’re crazy for even mentioning Obama in it.

Did it hurt falling off the turnip truck? By all accounts, you’re part of the reason the Braves consistently rank average in attendance despite winning. That’s especially hurtful considering owner Liberty Media’s M.O. in keeping the spending in line with the attendance rankings.

Cut BJ Upton a break. Yes, we signed him for a lot of money and we have big expectations for him, but you really want to dirty the water the first 2 months of a 5-year deal? That’s essentially like committing adultery the day after the wedding. And considering BJ’s past, he’d take it personally and distance himself from the team, which would most likely affect his brother, Justin, too. Not smart, not to mention that would be the anti-thesis of the Braves’ reputation throughout baseball.

At the very least, BJ will play great CF, and he will start hitting. The hardest time is just after you signed a big contract — ask Uggla. Uggla is now starting to deliver on our patience, and hopefully BJ will work some things out with our excellent hitting coach(es) sooner than later.

As for you, how unethical to supposedly support a team, but not when you disagree with their attempts at winning. Please go and cheer for the Astros — they don’t mind cutting major-league talent (Rick Ankiel, Fernando Martinez) to let their league-minimum minor-leaguers (Jimmy Paredes) have pro experience and fielding a team that makes less money combined than A-Rod on the DL ($21.1MM).

Great reply Derek, but I think the Upton’s realize how much we love having them here, regardless of the few crazies out there.

I’m not even sure it’s worth arguing with a poster with a comment as ignorant as that. I don’t think s/he was able to comprehend half of what you just wrote. I applaud the effort though… great post.

Kimbrel didn’t really miss his spots last night, that was a tough L to take. Every offspeed pitch was weakly waived at or watched… They were sitting fastball on every pitch, and the fastballs hit out of the park were at the knees (or lower)… tough L… good hitting, lucky guessing.

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