Ah, yes. After a weekend series sweep against the Washington Nationals, it is clear that the Atlanta Braves own their NL East rival. In 2014, the Nats have lost five games, all five coming against the Braves. The manner of the losses is what should be of more concern to Nationals fans.
First of all, the Braves are hitting their pitching very well. Ace Stephen Strasburg was tagged for six runs in just 4.1 innings and only struck out six batters against a lineup that strikes out … a lot. After that game, Gio Gonzalez got rocked in the series finale, giving up six runs in the first two innings of the game.
However, most of this shouldn’t be blamed on the pitching of the Nationals, but rather credit should be given to the Braves’ lineup. Over the course of the weekend series, Freddie Freeman hit a moon-shot home run and Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, Ramiro Pena and Andrelton Simmons all hit home runs over the course of the series.
Also, the Braves have pitched the Nationals very well, holding their foe to 11 runs over the weekend series, with six of those runs coming on the first game of the series against Julio Teheran. Aaron Harang and Alex Wood seemed to shut the lineup down for the most part and dominate going into the sixth and seventh innings.
It’s worth mentioning that the bullpen, which has been struggling at times, really turned up their play in this series as well. They pitched 11 innings over the three games and gave up just three runs, holding the Nats to 10 total hits.
There are more problems for the Nationals when they play the Braves, including the fact that they have fielded very poorly against the Braves, having seven errors by the end of this weekend series. However, if the Braves keep a hot bat against their pitchers and continue to pitch to the level that they have, the Braves will have their fans cheering “Who’s your daddy?” just like the New York Yankees did to Pedro Martinez.