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Series Recap: Braves vs Nationals

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The Braves ran into a buzzsaw with a bad haircut named Bryce Harper.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Gee, that went well.

Not much positive can be taken from this series for the Braves. The Nats came in hot and stayed hot, especially one in particular. Bryce Harper hit three home runs in the game preceding the start of the series and went on to hit three more; he was slugging the ball all over the place at such a rate that if anyone got him out, it made national headlines. He had seven hits overall in the three-game sweep.

Harper started by turning around a one-run Braves lead into a lead for the Nats on Friday with a sixth-inning two-run homer off Eric Stults. The Braves were up 2-1 at the time and Stults was pitching pretty well, giving up only a home run to Jayson Werth, but Harper's homer turned the tide for the Nats, who feasted on the Braves bullpen the last two innings. Harper hit another homer and Danny Espinosa would hit a pair of his own in a 9-2 drubbing.

The other two games were especially heartbreaking. Washington had built up a 6-1 lead on Julio Teheran on Saturday, but Atlanta's offense had battled back to a tie in the eighth and Cody Martin was asked to keep it that way. Unfortunately, Bryce struck again, this time with a two-run walk-off shot.

Then on Sunday, Atlanta fought back to take a seventh-inning lead after Alex Wood spotted the Nats three runs in the first. Wood settled down after that and even had three hits of his own against Jordan Zimmermann. In the eighth, Cody Martin was asked once again to shut the Nats down because Jason Grilli was unavailable and Jim Johnson was being saved for the ninth. The Nats tagged Martin for a pair of runs - surprisingly, Bryce Harper was NOT involved - and his second loss in as many games.

Wood's performance was one of the few positives we can take from this series. He was on his way to another early exit, but shut down the Nats into the seventh inning, which is an improvement on his last two starts. One could make an argument for Eric Stults as well: he struck out seven in six innings without a walk and scattered seven hits, but the home run to Harper certainly hurt.

The offense on Saturday and Sunday was another positive. They clawed their way back with five runs over two innings after being down 6-1 on Saturday and coming back from three down to take the lead on Sunday. Freddie Freeman led the way with five hits in the series as he continues to pester the Nats. Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin contributed key run-scoring hits as well. If only the bullpen could be as effective.

Freeman: 5-12, 3 doubles, 3 runs, 1 RBI
Peterson: 2-8, 2 RBI
Maybin: 3-11, 2 doubles, 2 RBI
Braves bullpen: 6.2 IP, 11 hits, 10 ER, 4 HR