Mike Minor continued his late-season revival on Monday night, and after a rough 1st inning he went into cruise control for the next 5 innings that he pitched. Unfortunately, Doug Fister also had a sparkling night, as he only gave up 2 hits over the 7 innings that he pitched. The Nationals were able to find a way to push 2 runs across, while the Braves only managed to cobble together 1, and it's another loss at a time where the Braves can't really afford to take L's.
One reason why the team's offense hit yet another wall is because they were missing Evan Gattis. Although he's not exactly the cure-all for the offense, it's still clear that the team misses his power whenever he's out, and he might be out for a bit considering that he has strep throat. Fredi Gonzalez is flummoxed:
"We’re calling it day-to-day, but it may be a little more than that," Gonzalez said before Monday’s series opener against the Nationals. "I don’t know. It depends on how quickly we get his strength back. It’s the darndest thing."
It's pretty obvious to everyone who's watched the Braves this season that Andrelton Simmons' approach at the plate is pretty different this season compared to last, which is when his free-swinging approach led to 17 HRs in the midst of one of the greatest defensive seasons in recent memory. But has the change brought about a significant change in the bottom line for Simba? The phrase "The more things change, the more they stay the same" might come to mind, here.
The Braves lost the season series to the Marlins 10-9 this season, and one of the reasons why that happened is because Freddie Freeman had an absolute devil of a time even getting a hit against the Marlins, much less being a productive run-producer for the team against Miami. Freeman finished the season against the Marlins 10-74, which is good for .135. Now, let this be the last time we ever speak of the Marlins until next season. Namaste.
It's mid-September, which means not only are there Postseason races going on, but this is also the time when MLB releases their schedule for the next season. The marquee home dates for next season include visits from the Red Sox (where they're going to do that weird 2 home/2 road 4-game series thing again) and Yankees (which is always "fun" when their fans come to the stadium), and a 4th of July week that includes visits from the Nationals and Phillies. If you've got some dates that you're excited about, let us know!
While the Braves and the Brewers are seemingly trying their hardest not to make the Postseason, the Pirates have noticed this and decided that they'll just go ahead and scoop up that 2nd and final Wild Card spot, and have gone on a nifty little 4-game winning streak. They beat the Phillies last night 6-4 thanks to a good pitching performance from Jeff Locke, and some timely hitting from Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, and Brent Morel. The Pirates are now 1.5 games ahead of both the Braves and the Brewers with 18 games left to play.
Clayton Kershaw made a start for the Dodgers last night, which means that the Dodgers won last night. It was a comfortable 9-4 victory over the Padres, and the Dodgers now have a 3.5 game lead in the NL West over the San Francisco Giants, who currently have a firm grip on the 1st Wild Card spot. However, the Dodgers did have an absolute adventure of a play occur on defense in the 6th inning, and naturally, it started with the mercurial Yasiel Puig making a bad throw and then it hilariously snowballed from there.
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Also, just in case you were living under a rock yesterday and neglected to make your regular, everyday trip to Talking Chop for the latest in Braves news, there's a new Sherriff in town, and if you haven't posted your thoughts on the situation concerning the site as it moves forward (or just some well-wishes in general), then mosey on down to the post so you can read what the new site manager has to say, and also read the comments below since it's definitely been an interesting conversation in that section.