Scoring eight runs is great. Scoring eight runs AND pitching a shutout is just double-fun. All-Star Julio Teheran took the mound against the Reds on Thursday night, and went six strong innings, allowing just four hits and no runs. James Russell and Luis Avilan were able to handle the next three innings, allowing just one hit between the two. Justin Upton was busy tonight with 3 RBI, and Andrelton Simmons drilled his seventh homer of the year in the second inning. If the offense can keep clicking and the pitching can stay hot, the Braves might be able to catch up to the equally hot Nationals.
When Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen went down with injuries in Spring Training, the starting pitching staff immediately lost two solid arms. While Julio Teheran stepped up to become the ace of the staff, Alex Wood is spinning quite the impressive season despite his 9-9 record. A 3.05 ERA, 3.37 xFIP, and a 1.120 WHIP for the 23-year-old lefty is good enough to be arguably the second-best pitcher on the staff. We aren't the only ones praising Wood, however, as Fredi Gonzalez shared some words of his own:
"He’s got that mentality to be a top-tier pitcher in the major leagues, and to be in that category you’ve got to go out and go eight innings, you’ve got to go out and throw complete games. And he wants to do it."
Who knows if the Braves will be able to catch up to the Nationals in the NL East, but they can definitely make a run at one of the Wild Card spots with around a month left. There will be blood, sweat, and tears, however. Actually, I have no idea if that's true, but I do know that some guys in the clubhouse are going to have to step up for the Braves to see any extended success. I'm not going to be the one to spoil it for you, so check out who Bleacher Report believes are the five guys that will need to elevate their play.
If you're looking for the feel-good story of this news digest, you just found it. Both B.J. and Justin Upton have made monetary donations to allow parents of the players on the Jackie Robinson West Team to join their kids at the Little League World Series.
"I know for Justin and I, it was a no-brainer, so we [donated]," B.J. Upton said. "We're definitely rooting for them. The Little League World Series is always fun to watch. But when you feel a connection to a team, it definitely makes it more interesting."
Sorry Braves fans, those Nationals aren't slowing down anytime soon, as their win-streak rolls along to 10-in-a-row. Gio Gonzalez took the mound and went seven strong innings, giving up just four hits and no runs. The first run scored was also the last run scored, as Diamondbacks third-baseman Jordan Pacheco threw the ball past first-baseman Mark Trumbo, allowing Denard Span to score the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Nats' starter Gio Gonzalez shares his thoughts on his teams' late-game heroics:
"It wouldn't be the same if we didn't get a walk-off win. It's a perfect way to have a perfect 10" Gonzalez said. "It was fun just being a part of something that is going on. We had such great pitching lately. Our bullpen has been fantastic. Again, Nats win on a walk off. I just wanted try to blend in with the rest of the rotation, try not to stick out like a sore thumb."
99.9% of the time, if you throw a complete game one-hitter with no walks and no earned runs, you're winning that game. No one told David price that, apparently. Thanks to a throwing error from Eugenio Suarez, followed up by a triple from Brandon Guyer, an unearned run was scored on the Tigers, setting the score at 1-0 in the first inning. Unfortunately for Price, the Tigers' offense was a complete no-show, failing to give David any run support against his old team, and giving him the loss.