The score was surprisingly close for a game where Matt Harvey was absolutely locked in. Through the first seven innings of the game, the Atlanta hitters looked lost at the plate, and through five innings, Harvey had a no-hitter going. This is what we were talking about when we said the Braves were lucky to miss out on Harvey in previous series.
He ended the game with 13 strikeouts and three walks while giving up only the three runs the Braves would score in the eighth inning. He ran into a jam then–loading the bases while getting no outs, and for a minute near the end, it looked like the Braves might come back for a phenomenal win.
However, the late-game heroics weren’t going to continue in the first game of the doubleheader, with the Braves falling one run short to lose, 4-3. Personally, I was happy to see the team mount that much of a comeback with the way Harvey was throwing the ball. There is no need to freak out about the high number of strikeouts to this guy. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game right now. It will be okay.
Alex Wood got his first start as a major leaguer today and even though he only threw three innings and walked three batters, I was impressed. He was hitting spots with most of his pitches (the breaking ball was off the most), and the changeup he was dealing today was a solid out pitch. It comes in at 85-86 and has some nice late fade. His arm action still scares me from an injury standpoint but some people have mentioned that the delivery may help him deceive batters.
He allowed two hits and one earned run while striking out five in three innings. He’s going to have to work on being more efficient if he wants to continue to start (he threw 73 pitches and just 38 strikes) but I thought he looked pretty good.
Offensively, there isn’t a whole lot to say. The team managed just six hits with Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla picking up two each. Andrelton Simmons and Jordan Schafer were the only other players to tally hits.
Speaking of Simmons, people are starting to crack down on his aggression at the plate, and they have a point. He loves to swing early and often in the count and generally this isn’t good for him or the team. This problem is a big deal especially if he continues to lead off so frequently. Hopefully, BJ Upton will be put in that role as he continues to heat up, but look for a piece in the coming days on Simmon’s plate discipline and aggression at the plate.
The Braves will try and grab the second game of the double header tonight at 7:10. Paul Maholm will be taking on Zack Wheeler who is also starting in his major league debut. It should be another good game to watch, if only to see if Wheeler can live up to all of the hype.