It was a shutout for both teams until Freddie Freeman did the final damage in the bottom of the 10th inning when he laced a Manny Parra fastball off the center field wall for the walk-off winner. The fan favorite first baseman and possible NL All Star had a big series against the Reds, as he went 5-for-13 and drove in three runs to increase his average to .344 and tie him for the team lead in RBIs with 16. Julio Teheran was spectacular from the rubber and now has given his team a quality start in all six outings this season after going eight innings and only allowing five base runners. He now ranks 6th in the NL with a 1.47 ERA and is third in innings pitched (43). The series win for the Braves was their seventh in eight series to start the season and their second sweep. The wins keep piling up for the team with the second best record in all of baseball, as they sit just a game and a half back from being tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the best record in baseball.
Unbelievable Starting Pitching (Espn.com-SweeSpot)
The Braves have now won 12 of their last 15 years and analysts may have made the wrong decision in picking the team to fall off in the NL East due to their preseason pitching injuries. Their starting pitching has been dominant and has combined for a 11-4 record and a 1.57 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. So to say the pitching staff has been dominant would almost be an understatement. With Mike Minor coming back this week it should provide an even bigger boost for the best rotation so far in baseball. In the past 30 years only seven teams now have posted a starting rotation ERA in the first calendar month of under 2.00 and the Braves have done it three times. Pitching U much?
Wood Vs. Fernandez Part Two (Mlb.com)
The last matchup between Alex Wood and Jose Fernandez may have been the best pitching duel that the league will see all season long, as the two youngsters combined to pitch 16 innings and only gave up seven hits while walking not a single batter and struck out 25 batters. Wood was handed the hard fought loss back on Tuesday, Apr. 22, but will look to change his outcome in his next start. He currently leads all of Braves starters with 35 strikeouts and ranks 9th in all of baseball with a 1.54 earned run average. Atlanta will travel to take on the Marlins in a three game series before they return home for a nine game home stretch from May 2-11 against the Giants, Cardinals, and Cubs.
Chris Johnson is not even close to the numbers he put up last year in the first month of the season as he is hitting .128 points lower than his .369 mark through his first full calendar month of play. His main concern at the plate is his average against right handers whom he is struggling against despite hitting .299 off of last season when he finished second in the NL in batting average.
Kimbrel's Curveball (FoxSports)
Craig Kimbrel not only can blow it past opposing hitters with his fearsome fastball, but one other key to his madness is his devastating curveball that keeps hitters off balanced. Opposing hitters against his breaking ball are batting .110 against it and have never hit a home run off of it. FoxSports ranks his knuckle curve as the 8th best pitch in all of baseball.
Bryce Harper has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Nationals as he is suffering from a sprained left thumb. The so-called MVP candidate by many experts before the season has only hit one home run and continues to prove why he is one of the most overrated players in baseball.
Adam Wainwright continues to cruise in the early part of the 2014 campaign as he notched his fifth win of the season on Sunday as the Cardinals defeated the Pirates 7-0. He hasn't allowed a run now in 25 consecutive innings and leads a team that ranks third in the NL behind the Braves and the Brewers in ERA.
Former Braves All-Star utility man Omar Infante had a day at the plate he will never forget for the Kansas City Royals as he drove in a career high six runs off just two hits. In his first year playing his home games at Kauffman Stadium he leads his team with 17 RBIs while hitting second in the lineup.
The Minnesotta Twins are the only team in baseball to have six players with over 10 walks this season and have walked 121 times as a team compared to the Braves 66. Fangraphs also notes in their story that seven of nine hitters in the lineup are swinging less than they were last season.
You can put it on the board! Jose Abreu has set a MLB record for RBIs in the month of April by a rookie and continues to add on to his own home run record for a rook. He now has 10 home runs right now and 31 runs batted in. The people of Chicago absolutely love this guy.