The Braves got big production from a number of people today en route to a blow out victory over the Nationals. The series win gives Atlanta some momentum as they head back home for a weekend series with Marlins, though it appears they will do so with Matt Kemp potentially missing some time.
The Atlanta offense came out hot in this one, putting up three runs in the first inning on a Brandon Phillips double and singles by Nick Markakis and Matt Adams. This was uncharted territory for Nationals starter Tanner Roark who, as we mentioned in the game preview, had enjoyed a lot of success at the hands of the Braves in his five seasons in the big leagues. Today would be a significant reversal of fortunes for the right-hander, as Atlanta made short work of him.
The Washington offense was held in check for most of the day, though they did cut the lead to one in the second inning on a Brian Goodwin two-run homer off Julio Teheran. That blow would not deter the Braves however, as they again scored three runs in the third inning to answer the Nationals and push the lead to four after four. The Braves offense was aided by a Jose Lobaton throwing error to plate the first run, which was followed by a Kurt Suzuki two-run homer. This was quite a series for Braves catchers at the plate.
The Braves would plate another run in the fifth inning on a Matt Adams sacrifice fly, making the score 7-2 and signaling the end of Tanner Roark’s day. He finished having allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in five innings, which is by far his worst career outing against the Braves.
After the removal of Roark the Braves had yet another big inning against the Nationals bullpen, plating six more runs on a Teheran walk, an Ender Inciarte single, a Brandon Phillips double, and a Danny Santana single. The onslaught by the offense in that inning only solidified the claims that Washington has a serious issue in the bullpen that will likely need to be resolved if this team is to compete in October. But whatever the case with the Nationals, Atlanta should feel good about the offense and the firepower they showed in this series.
Speaking of things that should make the Braves feel good, today marked the second consecutive good outing from Julio Teheran, who went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Teheran was hardly overpowering in this one, but he kept opposing hitters off-balance and limited his walks to just one. That is an encouraging sign for the right-hander who has, to this point, shattered his career-high for BB/9. The win gives Julio six on the season and lowers his ERA under the five mark, which is always preferable for your ace.
The solemn news in the aftermath of the Braves win was the departure of Matt Kemp, who left the game in the third inning with what was reportedly a left leg injury. It is still unclear how severe the injury is, but this would certainly be a big blow to an offense that is already missing Freddie Freeman. Very few teams could withstand the loss of their three and four hitters, and if Kemp is sidelined the Braves could be persuaded to start unloading major league assets earlier than expected. We will await the news on Kemp, but this could be significant to the team on a number of fronts.
The Braves picked up a big series win and now head back to SunTrust Park with an eye on the Miami Marlins. There were several encouraging developments in Washington this week, and the Braves should be a confident group given their offensive output and the return of the Julio Teheran we have all been accustomed to for the past few seasons.