In a nutshell, the series in Nationals Park ended in a way that most seasoned Braves fans have come to expect. Sure, it has been beat to death that the Nationals suck, and still somehow manage to play the Braves tough each and every time out. But it is undeniably the case, and anyone who discusses Braves vs. Nationals will continue to beat it to death. The Braves went down on Monday night by as score of 5-3, followed by a more extreme 9-3 loss on Tuesday. Dan Uggla's hot bat helped prevent the Braves' first sweep of the season, as Atlanta took game three by a score of 6-4.
When the Braves don’t take care of teams like the Nats, fans can grumble, but it’s the way that the Braves lost these games that is somewhat disconcerting. In the three game set, Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, and Brandon Beachy combined to go 14 innings, giving up 24 hits, 17 runs, walking five, and striking out eight. That line is what some would call "terrible", and for the Braves it’s horrifyingly shocking as well. These starting pitching problems have been around for a week or two now, but three poor outings in one series is a first.
But there are some positives to take from the Braves’ current play. There are two guys on the right side of the infield that are pretty hot at the dish. Both Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla hit safely in all three games to extend their respective hitting streaks. Uggla’s now sits at 25 games, though it was his second hit of the game, a three run shot that ultimately gave Atlanta the win on Wednesday. Freeman’s streak is now at 18 games, and is sliding under the national radar thanks to Dan Uggla. The Braves actually had their lowest hit total of the series (7) in their win on Wednesday. It is the clutch hitting that is an issue, but with the hits coming, one would think that with the return of Chipper and Heap the Braves will have no problem scoring runs in clutch spots.
All the talk coming into this series, though, was about newly acquired center fielder, Michael Bourn. He played a very respectable series, going 4-for-13, scoring twice and driving in a run. He got his first hit, run, RBI, and stolen base as a Brave in Nationals Park. Jose Constanza continues to play well also, getting five hits in ten at bats. It will be exciting to watch the two speedy outfielders in the coming weeks.
We can hope that the Braves’ starters will get it together against the Mets beginning on Friday night, but it will be the knuckleballing R.A. Dickey that the Braves will have to face. Atlanta currently holds a 2.5 game lead over Arizona in the wild card, but have a solid 8 games to catch up on the Phillies in the East.