The Braves may not win 162 games this season but they can try to win 161 after logging a 5-2 win over the Brewers for their first victory of the season. Despite giving up a home run on the first pitch of the night to the hot-headed Carlos Gomez, 23-year old southpaw Alex Wood settled down and logged seven innings of one-run ball in which he only allowed five hits, three walks and struck out five. Freddie Freeman was locked in, as he blasted two solo home runs (his 5th multi-HR game of career) and also reached based with a single and a walk in a perfect outing for the future All-Star. Leadoff hitter Jason Heyward also went yicketty to give the Braves their first lead and drove in the first two runs of the season by taking Kyle Lohse deep off a 2-0 fastball in the fifth inning. Craig Kimbrel was of course down right unhittable and made easy work of the Brewers in the ninth by striking out the side..
For the second straight night the Braves deployed a 23-year old pitcher who they have the utmost of confidence in. In game one it was Julio Teheran, who was tabbed by one ESPN expert as his NL CY Young winner for '14, and last night it was former UGA Bulldog Alex Wood who made just his 12th start of his career. Numbers wise Wood actually out-pitched his predecessor, as he picked up his first win and could be in store for many more this season. These two pitchers will not be fun for other teams who have to face them back-to-back this season. Both have carried over their success from Spring Training and look to be major parts of the rotation this season. Wood finished the 2013 campaign only allowing one earned run or less in six of his last eight starts.
#Braves Fredi G on Wood: "He's a tough cookie. And he prepares better than any young player I've been around."— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) April 2, 2014
For once there is good news surrounding the Braves starting pitching depth, as Mike Minor, Ervin Santana and Gavin Floyd are all scheduled to make minor league starts this week. On Thursday Minor will start for the Mississippi Braves (AA) while Floyd will go for Gwinnett (AAA). Santana will pitch on Friday and is scheduled for 5-6 innings and reports are that he is on line to start the Braves game at home next Wednesday at home against the New York Mets. Not too shabby of a rotation once you plug them into the equation.
The 35-year old vet Aaron Harang, the only pitcher on the current 25-man roster over the age of 30, will take the mound in the deciding game of the season opening series against the Brew Crew on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET. In 10 career starts at Miller Park he is 5-2, so the Braves hope that his trend of success continues as he will go up against Matt Garza who gave up five runs in his last start against Atlanta in the 2012 season. Heyward and Freeman each have had success against him and have taken him yard.
It appears that Milwaukee's center fielder Carlos Gomez learned his lesson last season when Brian McCann stood in his path in front of home plate after jawing at his teammates when running around the bases. After taking Wood's fastball and first pitch he saw over the center field fence the speedster did not jog around the base paths, instead he sprinted to avoid any confrontations.
While some scoffed at the prank many others were furious when reading the April Fools report that Jason Heyward was to be platooned in the outfield with Fredi Gonzalez wanting to switch the lineups around. J-Hey will simply never be platooned and could possibly be a MVP candidate this season if he can avoid injury. The ball is jumping off numero 22's bat.