The bats finally woke up, and they did so at a very opportune time, as the Braves were able to roll to a 6-2 victory over the Nationals. After going down 2 runs early via a 2-run HR by former Brave Adam LaRoche, the Braves were able to hit Strasburg hard in the 4th and 5th inning, getting 2 in the 4th and 4 in the 5th. The biggest moment came from Dan Uggla, as he continued his success against Strasburg by driving in the go-ahead runs in the 5th inning. The Braves victory over the Nationals on Saturday was the "Spotlight Highlight" on Baseball Tonight over at the Worldwide Leader, and Atlanta will now look to get the series sweep over Washington later this afternoon.
One of the guys who was missing from the offensive "explosion" yesterday was Evan Gattis. This was due to the fact that he was the latest player on the Braves to get hit by a stomach virus. The illness previously hit Alex Wood and David Hale, and apparently the bug spread to El Oso Blanco. Even though he didn't start, Gattis was still available to pinch hit. Fortunately, the bats came alive so his services weren't needed.
After pitching 5 1/3 innings for the G-Braves on Friday night, the Braves appear ready to insert Ervin Santana into the starting rotation. Santana will pitch a side session later today, and as long as he gets through that with no problems, Santana will be the starter this Wednesday against the New York Mets.
In his blog for the AJC, Braves beat writer Dave O'Brien praised the Braves' "patchwork" pitching staff for passing the test that was the first week of the season with flying colors. Not only did they do well, they excelled, especially as far as the two "fill-in" guys (Aaron "Droopy" Harang and David Hale) were concerned. They also did this in spite of the offense producing only 8 runs. As we all know, that changed in a big way, but the pitching continued to be effective, and is definitely a bright spot as the Braves continue the initial part of the season.
One of our readers who goes by the handle of 71Hd recently posted a FanPost that contained a link to a pretty interesting article concerning former Brave John Rocker. The piece itself is written by Jeff Pearlman, and Pearlman takes a look at the article he wrote on the former controversial closer for the Braves all the way back in 1999. A lot has changed since then, and it's definitely intriguing to see his opinion on the matter 15 years after it was published in Sports Illustrated.
League Wide News
Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joined an extremely exclusive club on Saturday. Not only did he become the 60th manager in Major League Baseball history to win 1000 games, he also became only the 8th manager in history to get all of those wins while managing only one club. Gardenhire improved his record with the Twins to 1000-950 with the Twins' 7-3 victory over Cleveland.
The managerial duo that helped guide the Pittsburgh Pirates out of a 2 decade-long stint in the non-Postseason wilderness will be staying together for the foreseeable future, as both manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington signed contract extensions that will keep them both in Pittsburgh through 2017 at the least. Pittsburgh has improved their win total every season with Hurdle as the manager, and Huntington came up with a plan that finally made the Pirates good again so locking both of those guys up seems like the right thing for Pittsburgh to do.
After producing the one of the best defensive seasons of his career at shortstop (A career high UZR of 10.7 which contributed to 3.9 fWAR), the Tampa Bay Rays gave former Brave Yunel Escobar a 2-year contract extension worth $13 MM in guaranteed money. Escobar also tallied a career high in games played last season, with 153. He and the Rays are surely hoping that these numbers will continue to stay where they are over the duration of this new contract.
After playing just 15 games last season due to an injury to his right wrist, former Brave and current Yankee 1B Mark Teixeira will be heading right back to the Disabled List after suffering a strained right hamstring Friday night against the Blue Jays. Ol' Tex has been dogged by injuries as of late, and hasn't come close to playing a full season of baseball since the 2011 season.
Despite having beautiful weather on Friday night, the 4/4 tilt between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics was postponed because the field was in terrible shape. This was due to the fact that the A's anticipated that there would be less rain earlier than there actually was, so they didn't roll the tarp out onto the field initially. When they did, it was too late and the game couldn't be played. At least there weren't sewage issues this time.