This was an awesome game for the Atlanta Braves. Not only did they just complete a sweep of the Minnesota Twins–sure it’s not that impressive, but they got done what needed to be done–but we saw some very encouraging things from some players we really needed something out of. The final score was 8-3.
Paul Maholm started off the season fantastically before settling into the pitcher we expected him to be after coming over from Chicago. However, today he had one of those really good starts that he has previously put together. He threw 7.1 innings while allowing just one run on seven hits. He also walked just one batter and struck out four in the outing. Going deep into the game was a big deal for the team today with all of the problems the bullpen has experienced lately, plus the extra inning game last night, and his performance was big.
Cory Rasmus finished up the game, letting up two solo home runs in the ninth inning, but striking out 3 over 1.2 innings pitched. It was the first time Rasmus pitched in the big leagues.
The offense was really the highlight of the day with Evan Gattis continuing to amaze people, and an encouraging home run from BJ Upton. Jason Heyward also continued his hot streak since returning to the lineup, tallying two hits, two runs and an RBI. The team scored eight runs on ten hits as well as walking more times than striking out. That’s something the Braves are only going to do against teams like Minnesota, but still great to see.
A night after coming in as a pinch hitter in the ninth to send the game into extra innings, Gattis bashed his first career grand slam. He’s been simply amazing so far, and I can’t wait to watch the movie that will eventually be made about him.
Three players had multi-hit games (Heyward, Ramiro Pena, and Chris Johnson) while three Braves also left the yard (Pena, Upton, Gattis). It looks like we have finally moved past the days when Justin Upton had to carry the team on his back–he had a well deserved off day today.
Like I have said many times before, a healthy Heyward and Brian McCann (who was off today after catching the night before) does wonders to the lineup, and if BJ Upton is starting to come out of his funk, then even better.
The Braves are going up against a fairly easy schedule during the next few weeks and it is encouraging to see many different players doing well. The Braves will have an off day tomorrow before beginning a series against the Mets on Friday. It looks like they might miss out on Matt Harvey for the second series in a row, which is yet another thing to be excited about.