When you’re hot you’re hot. Everything seems to go your way on a winning streak, every break in the game proves to be beneficial to your goals. Bloopers fall, every line drive finds a gap, even balls and strikes are called to your liking, things just work out. The Atlanta Braves have been on such a streak for the past two weeks, stretching their impressive run to 12 straight wins with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
A heated game between the two National League East rivals, the benches cleared after Bryce Harper was hit in the thigh by a pitch in the fifth inning. Harper had drilled a home run off of Julio Teheran in his previous at bat, only to be hit with a fastball to the thigh in the very first pitch of his fifth inning trip to the batter’s box.
Harper tossed his bat after being hit and stared down the pitcher. The 20 year old’s blood boiled as he cursed Teheran at the top of his lungs. Teheran stepped towards Harper, not backing down. The tensions rose as Harper strode to first base. Harper never shot back with anything but vulgarities, opting to avoid the consequences that would come with charging the mound.
“I wasn’t going to go out there,” Harper said after the game. “I mean, 14 and 1 / 2 games down and I need to be in the lineup. He’s got to do what he’s got to do. And it’s part of the game, like I said. If I walk-off on somebody and he wants to drill me, I’ll let him drill me and I’ll stand on first base and say some choice words and get over it.”
Winning the division seems all but lost for the Nationals, however they are just 8 games behind in the Wild Card race. Not an easy comeback at this point in the season, but one a quality team is capable of making. We saw the St. Louis Cardinals go on such a run to win the World Series in 2011.
For the Braves, things just keep on going their way during the 12 game win streak. Despite losing leadoff hitter Jayson Heyward to injury, they were able to find a way to win Tuesday night. The game-winning hit actually was by his replacement, Evan Gattis. In the fifth inning, the backup was able to drive in both of his team’s runs with a single to give his team a lead they would not relinquish.
Atlanta is now 5-0 at Nationals Park in Washington this season. At 14 1/2 games up in their division, it is about time they begin to gear up for the playoffs. With both offense and pitching thriving, the Braves look unstoppable as they hit 12 straight wins. Of course the streak will eventually come to an end, but as of now it looks like it could just be getting started.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express