There cannot be enough said about the incredible pitching performances by the Braves’ starting pitchers so far. In the past week, the Atlanta Braves have been on a tear by winning games with amazing pitching, which has put their record at an impressive 10-5. The Braves swept their rival, the Washington Nationals, over the weekend in a resounding statement that proved that they are still the team to beat in the National League East. Atlanta then marched into Philadelphia to win two out of three in some very nerve-racking and exciting ball games.
The past two games on Wednesday and Thursday for the Atlanta Braves both featured scores of only 1-0 — they won the first and lost the second. Two consecutive games that feature scores of 1-0 represent one of two scenarios: either both teams have cold batters or dominating pitchers. In this case, the pitching was absolutely dominant, as the Braves and Phillies’ pitchers mostly made the opposing hitters look silly. Also, this was coming after the Braves defeated the Phillies in a high-scoring slugfest that ended in a 9-6 outcome, so the hitters were not quite on a cold streak so to speak.
Julio Teheran has shown that he is capable of being the ace of the Braves, and he has led an amazing pitching rotation, so far, that has the Braves winning many of their games. He was completely commanding versus the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday. Teheran, who was quoted in that he did not “pay attention” to the fact that he was facing a former Cy Young winner in Cliff Lee, pitched an absolute gem that outshined the proven veteran’s valiant performance.
Teheran’s pitches had incredible movement to go along with pinpoint command, which made him almost untouchable. His complete game shutout at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia was the first for the Braves since Kris Medlen did it last in 2012. Teheran is definitely a player to watch for being a potential contender in the National League Cy Young race. He is 2-1 for the year with a 1.93 ERA and 13 strikeouts in four starts.
Alex Wood also had a terrific outing on the mound in the Thursday afternoon game in Philadelphia. Even though the Braves lost, Wood pitched eight innings and only gave up one run with seven strikeouts. His curveball has become his most devastating pitch that baffles hitters because of its harsh and long drop — it may be one of the best curves for left-handed pitchers in the game. So far, Wood has a 2-2 record with an amazing 1.67 ERA to go along with 24 strikeouts in four starts this season.
Over the past week, the Atlanta Braves have gone 5-2 mostly because their amazing pitching has established the team with a winning attitude. Ervin Santana has been incredible in his first two starts, Alex Wood and Julio Teheran have dazzled, and Aaron Harang has pleasantly surprised with his terrific start. Once Mike Minor joins the rotation in late April, the Braves will have their first “complete” rotation of the year.
Highlight of the Week
This belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit a go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning of Monday’s game against the Phillies. Uggla had already hit a home run earlier in the game, and he came up clutch to hit his second home run of the game to give the Braves a very exciting victory. His offseason work seems to have paid off so far, and he is tied for the team lead in RBI with 10.
Commentary by Glen Parris
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering the Atlanta Braves