Despite the Braves 2-1 loss on Sunday afternoon they still managed to win two out of three games against the division rival Washington Nationals on the road. They are now 4-2 and bolster the best pitching staff in the majors to this point with a 1.56 ERA and have not allowed more than two runs in any game this season. The Brewers do have a lower earned run average at 1.45, but have allowed 14 runs in all this season while Atlanta has only allowed nine. An impressive road trip to start the season by all means, but still much room to improve on offense.
Home Opener (Tickets)
It has been over half a year since the Braves last played a game at Turner Field where they posted the best home record in all of baseball last season with a 56-25 record. To make it simple to understand the team feeds off its home crowd and imposes its will on opposing foes who look to come in and silence those in the TED. Before the game fans are asked to file into their seats by 6:30 pm ET as the team will honor Hank Aaron and the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run.
The MLB leader in ERA will take to the mound for the Braves come Tuesday night, as Aaron Harang will look to make a second straight bold start after his last scoreless start. The 34-year old veteran didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning against the Brewers in his first start when Logan Schafer singled up the middle to break up the no-no bid. Opposing the man with the fearsome goatee will be the even older Bartolo Colon who picked up a loss in his first start of the season despite posting a quality start against the Nationals.
While the young southpaw took the L for the Braves in a pitchers duel against the Nats he continues to impress and show his worth, which looks to be quite a lot after his first two starts in the 2014 campaign. In each start so far this season Alex Wood has gone seven innings and has posted a 1.93 earned run average on a pitching staff that doesn't have a pitcher with an ERA above 3.00. He allowed no walks and has been a master of control throughout his career. The team is exuberant about what they have seen so far from a guy that was pitching in the SEC for Georgia just two years ago.
Fredi Gonzalez had a blank space on his dry erase board at the leadoff spot of the batting order on Sunday morning. However DOB reports that even though Jason Heyward suffered stiffness in his neck, which appeared to linger and effect the right fielder in the series finale, he chose to play through the game and start. Last season he went through a similar situation when playing the Nationals as well. An off day today should help him recover and get back to full strength, as Heyward looks to shake off an 0-for-17 spell at home.
Mike Minor is expected to make three more minor league rehab starts before he makes his season debut on either April 23 or 25. Depending on how the next few starts go for Harang and David Hale it will be interesting to see who can land the fifth spot in the rotation once Minor is back. Gavin Floyd could even be back by late April or early May as well.
A trip back home and a day to collect themselves hopes to do wonders for B.J. and Justin Upton who have combined for a 7-for-47 mark at the plate so far and have yet to drive in a run. The talent is there for these two outfielders who still appear happy playing alongside each other and their numbers should start to improve.
LEAGUE WIDE NEWS
The Miami Marlins are off to a scorching start to begin the season and are currently atop the NL East with a 5-2 record. Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee have combined to drive in 22 runs this season already, which is remarkable when considering the Braves have only knocked in 14 runs this season. Jose Fernandez is quite possibly the best pitcher in the NL as well with a 2-0 record to go along with a 0.71 ERA and 17 strikeouts in just 12.2 innings pitched.
Brandon Belt and Michael Morse are swinging hot bats right now to begin the season for the San Francisco Giants who are averaging 5.7 runs per game so far. These are just two of many good bats in the lineup for a team that may fool many and give the Dodgers a challenge for the NL West division this season.
Darvish Dazzles In Season Debut (Video)
Yu Darvish not only won his first start of the season, but did so in dominant fashion while setting records as well. The strikeout machine pitched seven innings of seven-hit scoreless baseball and struck out six batters and became the fastest pitcher ever to reach 500 K's after two punch outs in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Not only did Matt Kemp hit two home runs but so did Hanley Ramirez in the Dodgers 6-2 win on Sunday Night Baseball over the Giants on Sunday night. Kemp can thank Yasiel Puig partly as he was not in the lineup with a hand injury and was also benched for showing up late to a game this weekend as well. For now Mattingly will not have to deal with who he should start in the outfield.
Mets closer Bobby Parnell will undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday after being diagnosed with a tear in his medial collateral ligament. Jose Valverde will now receive the majority of the save opportunities for the team.
Derek Jeter has now moved into eighth place all-time on the hits list as he posted his first multi-hit game of the season against Toronto and now has 3.320 base knocks in his career. He will make his final home opener season debut tonight against the Baltimore Orioles.