Three Cuts: Wood delivers strong start in Braves loss to Nats
Here are three things we gleaned from the Braves’ 2-1 road defeat against the Nationals on Sunday, a sometimes-sloppy game in which Atlanta starter Alex Wood arguably threw just one bad pitch.
Throw in the in-game facts of Wood (two runs allowed over seven innings) retiring 13 straight batters (innings 1 through 5), the Nationals infielders committing two shaky errors … and that’s a lot of momentum in the Braves’ favor, relative to securing their first sweep of the young season.
But alas, the Nationals pitchers — led by Taylor Jordan (one run allowed, three strikeouts over 6.1 innings) — effectively scattered eight Braves hits on the day; and Wood, as referenced above, would probably accept a do-over on his 7th-inning encounter with shortstop Ian Desmond, who launched a letter-high, over-the-plate fastball over the left-field wall, breaking a 1-all tie and serving as the eventual game-winner.
Excluding Sunday, the Braves had a 19-6 record in their last 25 games against the Nationals, a staggering differential for a pair of teams that are largely viewed as relative equals.
The more surprising item, however, involved Atlanta’s average of just 3.9 runs over that 25-game span.
That’s a low, low figure for a club with a .760 winning percentage against a well-heeled rival.
Fresh off his one-run, two-hit, three-walk performance on Saturday, Freeman modestly tallied just one hit and one run on Sunday.
But it doesn’t take much bloom off Freeman’s opening-week rose, with the first baseman notching two homers, two RBI, four runs, a .421 batting average and absurd on-base percentage (.560).
In turn, that elite-level proficiency has helped deflect from Atlanta scoring just two runs or less four times in six games.