Breaking: Before we get started on tonight’s recap, the Braves have announced (via Twitter) that Evan Gattis has been optioned to Triple-A. The reason being was for him to get more at-bats. No corresponding moves have been made, but be sure to stay tuned as we will keep you updated on who comes up. Okay, now back to regular programming.
It was the battle between two up and coming aces in Julio Teheran and Jose Fernandez and thanks to a Freddie Freeman big fly, Teheran bested Fernandez in a pitcher’s duel by a final count of 2-1 Friday night.
After having the day off for about four innings yesterday to recharge his batteries, Freeman wasted little time in continuing to make his case for NL MVP this year when he launched a two-run home run in the first inning off Jose Fernandez to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. I think it’s worth mentioning that Freeman is not only one of the best hitters on the team, but he also without question has a great glove at first base–saving error after error. This is something that the voters have to at least look at and should be thinking about when it comes to casting their ballot.
Julio Teheran performed fairly well tonight for the Braves. Teheran pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits, walked three and struck out eight. Teheran did struggle in the third inning when he gave up a lead-off triple to his counterpart Fernandez who was chased home on a Christian Yelich single. Teheran loaded the bases with one out but was able to wiggle out of the jam when he struck out Justin Ruggiano and got Placido Polanco to end the threat when Polanco flied out to B.J. Upton. Teheran is still young and is learning the game, but has definitely shown some signs of greatness this season and hopefully that continues in the final month.
The Braves are 22-14 in games decided by one run. If it hasn’t been said before, I’ll say it. This is what good ball clubs are made up of–finding ways to win in tight games. Getting a lead early and then having a solid pitching performance has been the recipe for success for the Braves this season and that was put on display again tonight against the Marlins.
Since we’re on the topic of records, the Braves have now won 10 of their last 16 games in games where they have scored three runs or fewer. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman pointed out that the Braves were 11-36 in games before this recent streak has started. Again, this is what separates World Series teams from NLCS teams–finding ways to win in conventional and unconventional ways. The Braves have most certainly done that.
Since Craig Kimbrel was unavailable tonight, Anthony Varvaro notched his first MLB save. This was his first save in 82 appearances. Varvaro worked two scoreless innings and gave up just one hit to Giancarlo “Don’t Call Me Mike” Stanton.
So there you have it, folks. The Braves magic number continues to drop further and further down as the Braves look to clinch yet another NL East Division Pennant. They take on these same Marlins tomorrow at 7:10. Mike Minor will be squaring off against Jacob Turner.