Leading into Thursdays game with the Nationals, our Braves had, remarkably, trounced the Natspos in consecutive games. Tuesday our erstwhile ace Julio shut out the powerful Natspos lineup, while the Braves scored 5 off Gio Gonzales, who has an ERA of around two and a half. Wednesday, even more incredibly, the Braves scored 7 off Max “Cy” Scherzer, whose ERA is even lower than Gio’s. And to top it off, Luiz Gohara, in only his second big league start, pitched six strong innings, only allowing one earned run. (His ERA after his first start was over 13.)
I was starting to wonder if I had somehow fallen down a rabbit hole or through a looking glass to a different world. Perhaps the reality I have always known and relied upon is only an illusion.
For Thursday, Dusty Baker penciled in a lineup that reminded me of one of those Bobby Cox Sunday getaway lineups. The Nationals have four hitters with OPS of over .900: Zimmerman, Rendon, Murphy, and Harper. None of the four were in the lineup. Harper is still on the DL, trying to get back in time for October; the other three were just getting some rest as the Nationals get ready for October. The number 3 hitter in the lineup was Wilmer Difo, he of the career OPS of .714. On the mound was Tanner Roark, whose ERA is about four and a half.
So of course the Natspos beat the Braves. Not much to report here. The Braves could do next to nothing with Roark. The big exception was a two run homer by Albies. The kid is for real. Roark went six, and the Nationals now excellent bullpen (remember how awful they were the first half of the season?) shut the Braves out for the final three.
Foltynewicz started and only went four, giving up three runs on four hits. He apparently sustained a cut on one of his right fingers, causing him to leave the game. It’s a shame, because we really need to see if Folty and the other young pitchers can start to go deeper in games. It’s also a shame because Snit next turned to Matt Wisler, who did what he does in every outing—give up a couple of runs.
Still, the Braves just took 2 of 3 from the Nats and finished the season in Nationals Park with a record of 6-4. If only everyone else played the Gnats the way the Braves do in D.C., the Natspos really would delenda est. The Braves return home Friday for the last homestand of the season.