Of all the things going on in baseball, the thing I understand the least is Aaron Harang. The sport is complicated and it always will be. Once you think you have a good grasp of what makes a player good and what makes them bad, someone like Aaron Harang comes out of the woodwork and pitches like Cy Young.
Harang wasn’t exactly masterful, but he was careful the entire night and forced a lot of weak contact. He allowed some hard shots midway through the game that were right at outfielders, but other than that he was nibbling just enough to allow six walks and still manage to throw seven hitless innings. He was in near trouble during his last two innings of work, which pushed his pitch count to 121 before being forced to exit. Luis Avilan came in and retired two batters before facing David Wright. In theory I don’t mind him facing David Wright, but if you want a no hitter that’s about the worst matchup you could possibly have. I would have probably worked around Wright and went after Granderson, who Avilan struck out following the lone Met hit of the night.
The offense was quiet until the eighth inning, with Chris Johnson hitting two doubles and Freddie Freeman hitting a two run shot in the seventh to make it 3-0. Dan Uggla hit a double that turned into a little league home run when Justin Upton was thrown out at home and then Travis d’Arnaud airmailed his throw to third as Uggla was trying to advance. Jordan Schafer finished off the scoring for the night with an RBI double that scored Chris Johnson. B.J. Upton looked better at the plate, reaching three times and even working a deep count on an out.
Jonathan Niese wasn’t excellent, but worked around early inning command issues to allow just one run over six innings. Ryan Doumit had a terrible strikeout in the second with one out and men on second and third, and Freeman hit into a really bad double play with nobody out and men on first and second. I had stated earlier in the game that Freeman hadn’t looked great since getting hit in the hand by Gio Gonzalez last weekend, but he sure did look fine in hitting a home run into right center.
There was a very odd play earlier in the game, when a Met hitter grounded a ball to Dan Uggla who then threw him out at first. The play was very close and the Mets were considering challenging, but as he was being called out at first Freeeman threw the ball over to Chris Johnson to tag out Lucas Duda who was trying to advance two bases on the infield squibber. All in all it was a great night for Braves fans. Unfortunately they couldn’t finish off the no hitter, but the starting pitching continued to be literally unbelievable and the bats came alive once the Mets brought in their bullpen arms.