Washington Nationals Top Atlanta Braves in Unpredictable Spring Training Shootout

By Rob Holden
Atlanta Braves
Tommy Gilligan – USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves took on the Washington Nationals today in a wild and unpredictable game.

Combining for 31 runs and 37 hits, the two teams exchanged blows over nine innings, with Washington ultimately coming out on top, 16-15. The loss leaves the Braves without a win so far this spring, their record currently sitting at 0-4.

Newly-signed Julio Teheran got the start today, going a solid two scoreless innings and throwing a total of 30 pitches. The 23-year- old righty used his two innings to work on his slider, which he has been perfecting in the offseason. “It was exciting to come back on the mound and do what I expect — just throw strikes,” Teheran said. “In the offseason I’ve been trying to (perfect) my curveball and my slider. I think this year is going to be different because of the all the experience with my slider.”

The Braves featured an unconventional lineup in today’s game, giving playing time to several new and young players.

Ernesto Mejia went 2-for-3 and scored a run after replacing Freddie Freeman at first base in the fifth. Top prospect Tommy LaStella got the start as DH and went 3-for-6 and scored three runs, and Matt Lipka, who got the start in right field, went 3-for-6 with two runs and four RBI. These three minor league prospects certainly made an impression today, but only one of them has a serious shot at making the team.

LaStella has been impressive so far this spring. At 5-for-11, he continues to display the same penchant for getting on base and putting the ball in play that he has over the last two years in the Braves’ farm system. And if Dan Uggla continues to struggle, LaStella may take the lead in the fight for second base. Though at this point, the Braves’ front office and coaching staff still maintains that the job is Uggla’s to lose.

Rob Holden is an Atlanta Braves writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobMHolden, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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