I watched today’s game on fast-speed with the DVR after missing it due to rest. So here are the highlights:
- Juan Nicasio gave the team six innings of smart pitching. He gave up only 2 hits while walking 4, but many of the walks were to get around tough hitters (Freddie Freeman had 2 of the walks). They had a hard time squaring him up, and his pitches had great movement all game long. His 4 seamer and slider were both at their top speeds (94-93 on the 4-seamer, slider around 87). Juan is never pretty, but you don’t realize how dominate he has been until you get to the end of his outing. He was smart using walks (which good pitchers do), and effectively wild at other times. Sometimes being wild is the way to win. His overall record is 5-2 with a 3.61 ERA! Great job Juan – keep it up and we will all apologize for suggesting your spot be given to another.
- The long-ball continues to be this team’s greatest weapon. Homers by Cuddy (2 in 2 days on the road) and Tulo (to pull back into a tie with Stanton at 14). If you are struggling on the road, homers are instant rallies.
- Playing at 3B for Nolan Arenado Charlie Culberson had a great day, going 2-4, hitting a key double (and he was moved to 3rd with 0 outs on a grounder by DJ – the key to the whole inning) and then scored on a grounder by Charlie Blackmon. The umpire originally called him out (and Charlie collided with the umps shin guards to really make it hurt), but after a lengthy review they properly (even the Atlanta TV crew agreed) called him safe, giving them 3 runs and that extra margin.
- The pen was sold. Matty B. had a great 7th, Boone Logan, who had a little rust, gave up a weird bouncer double to B.J. Upton, who eventually scored, but Ottavino came in and although he allowed Upton to score took a 3rd and 2nd and 1-out situation and made sure that only the 1 run scored. Then Hawkins came in and was the most dominate he had been all month for a 1-2-3 inning. In the three innings they had no walks and 3 Ks!
- As has been the case of late, the offense was stymied by good pitching, but only Kd 6 times this game (and none against the Braves relievers) but only hit .187. This is a great Braves staff, and so stealing a game when you hit under .200 is something to celebrate.
- The team played a sharp game, no errors, made a number of good plays, got Nicasio to pitch over 100 pitches for the first time all season, and generally was the better team. They get the chance to take the series tomorrow with Franklin Morales attacking their left-handers and switch-hitters.