Fresh of a 4 game sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds, the Braves returned home looking to regain some momentum against the Nationals. Instead, Atlanta fell flat on it's face thanks to lackluster starting pitching, inconsistent offense, and almost-daily bullpen meltdowns.
Game 1 saw Tim Hudson take the mound against Ross Detwiler. Hudson appeared to have good stuff, but thanks to a few well-placed hits and a few mistake pitches, the Nats jumped all over him to the tune of 7 runs. Hudson's ERA jumped all the way to 4.12 with the outing. On the other side, Ross Detwiler was wild, walking 4 men in 4 innings, but the Braves could never break through with a big inning off him. After getting 3 runs of Detwiler, the Nats' pen shut down the Braves, allowing only 1 run, a homer from Jason Heyward. Washington took game 1 7-4.
Game 2 was the one everyone was afraid of: a struggling Mike Minor going up against Stephen Strasburg. Minor started shaky, allowing a run in the first and a three run shot in the 2nd to Danny Espinosa, but settled down after that, tossing 3 scoreless innings. The Braves showed good patience against Strasburg, drawing 4 walks over 5 innings while managing to score 4 runs. Unfortunately, the Braves' pen couldn't hold the lead as Kris Medlen and Johnny Venters each coughed up a pair of runs as Washington won 8-4.
Game 3 started off promising and fell flat quickly. Gio Gonzalez started for Washington and was wild. Gio issued a couple of walks early, but the Braves played small ball and got aggressive. Atlanta took a 2-0 lead after 3 but didn't press Gonzalez and he got into a grove. He would only allow 1 hit, a 3rd inning triple to Michael Bourn, on his way to striking out 10 men over 7 innings. Brandon Beachy gave up 2 unearned runs after Tyler Pastornicky bobbled.a double play ball. Livan Hernandez came in and erased all hope of a comeback, coughing up 4 runs in 3 innings.
Series MVP: If this went to a National, it could go to any number of them, probably Bryce Harper or Gio Gonzalez, but as this is an award for a Brave, it has to go to Martin Prado. Prado was 4-12 with 3 R, 1 RBI, and 1 SB during the series. He seemed to consistently grind out tough at bats, and had more hits than anyone else on the roadtrip. Here's hoping Prado can spark the offense against St. Louis
Series LVP: This "honor" could go one of two ways. I debated giving it to Pastornicky, who went 0-7 with a costly error during the series, but instead decided to give it collectively to the Braves' bullpen. The bullpen was downright terrible during the series allowing 8 runs (7 earned) over the 3 game series. Two of those runs broke open tie games for the Nationals. A pretty rough week for a unit that was one of the best in the National League last year.