The Atlanta Braves offense was utterly dominated by Bartolo Colon and the bullpen couldn’t keep the game in reach for any late inning magic, as the Braves dropped their home opener 4-0 to the New York Mets.
On a night in which the Braves honored the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record, Bartolo Colon baffled Braves hitters with his fastball heavy arsenal. The Braves scattered some singles against Colon but only had one extra base hit and went 0-the night with runners in scoring position. The Braves starting pitching continued its excellent form with Aaron Harang allowing only one run in six innings of work while striking out nine Mets hitters. Harang has pitched far and above what anyone could have possibly hoped for and early returns are of Harang being another excellent late spring addition that Frank Wren has become famous for.
Unfortunately, the Braves offense was so inept that the one run Harang allowed via a wild pitch in the third inning was all of the production that the Mets would need to win the game. The Mets would charge three runs to the Braves bullpen in easily the pen’s worst showing of the young season. Gus Schlosser and Luis Avilan combined to allow two runs in the seventh after taking over for Harang with both runs being charged to Schlosser. Avilan had to exit the game with what is being described as a calf strain which is hopefully not too serious. The Mets pushed across one more run in the 8th in what felt like piling on considering the Braves struggles on offense.
The Braves threatened in the ninth, but failed to push across any runs. The bases were loaded for Jason Heyward, who sent a jolt through the stadium with a long fly ball to straight away center field that was caught at the warning track to end the game. Jose Valverde managed to end the game for New York despite appearing very shaky and he has to consider himself lucky that Heyward’s shot stayed in the park.
The Braves loss continued the worrying trend of the offense being generally punchless and the positive trend of the starting pitching being mostly dominant. The Braves have to hope that the strong pitching is sustainable while the bats start to come alive soon. The series continues tomorrow with Ervin Santana making his Braves debut.