Nats’ killer Freddie Freeman celebrates his three run home run with Atlanta starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz in last night’s Braves 8-5 victory at Nationals Park over Washington.
Nationals Record- 67-47
Braves 8 Nationals 5
WP- Foltynewicz (6-5) LP- Strasburg (15-3) SV- Johnson (10)
HR- Peterson, Atl (6), Freeman, Atl (22), Recker, Atl (1), Rendon, Was (14
STARS OF THE GAME
Third Star- Since he’s joined the Braves, catcher Anthony Recker has been among the most productive backstops in the National League, posting a .349 average with eight RBI in 43 at bats. He hit his first home run of the year last night, drilling a long home run to left-center off of Matt Belisle to pad Atlanta’s lead.
Second Star- Braves’ second baseman Jace Peterson is known more for his speed than for his power, but he showed that he can hit with the big boys last night. Peterson hit a soaring home run to right-center off of Nats’ starter Stephen Strasburg to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning for his sixth round tripper of the year. Peterson also drove home Atlanta’s final run with a seventh inning sacrifice fly.
Star of the Game- Atlanta’s talented Freddie Freeman appears to be an affable individual, but to the Nationals he resembles Freddie Krueger. The first baseman slashed the Nats yet again, going 2 for 3 with a run scoring double and a three run homer to pace Atlanta’s winning attack. In his career at Nationals Park, Freeman is hitting a robust .324. After struggling due to injuries at the start of the 2016 campaign, the left-handed swinger now has an impressive .906 OPS on the year.
Valiant in Defeat- All teams want their leadoff hitters to reach base consistently, and Washington’s Trea Turner did just that on Friday night. The speedy Nats’ rookie went 3 for 5 with a run scored and two stolen bases from the top spot in Washington’s order. Turner is now hitting .301 on the year.
Strasburg gave up a season high five extra base hits in the contest, giving him nine extra-base hits allowed in his last two starts (both of them losses). In his seven starts prior to last weekend’s appearance against San Francisco, Strasburg had allowed a total of nine extra base hits.
Speaking of extra-base hits, Washington’s leaders in that category all checked in to pad their totals last night. Nats’ extra-base hit leader Daniel Murphy had his 34th double of the year to pad his XBH total on the year to 60, Anthony Rendon hit his 14th homer of the year to give him 43 XBHs on the season and Jayson Werth’s double put his XBH total at 39.
The Nats surrendered three homers to Atlanta last night, marking only the sixth time in 2016 that Washington has given up three or more homers in a game. Not surprisingly, Washington is 0-6 in those contests. Only the New York Mets (with five) have fewer three plus home runs allowed games in 2016 among National League teams.
The Nats’ loss did not hurt their position in the National League East, as both Miami and the Mets lost last evening as well. With 48 games left to play, Washington holds a healthy 7.5 game advantage over the Marlins.
Rookie hurlers battle in steamy DC this evening, as Atlanta’s Robert Whalen and the Nats’ Reynaldo Lopez both make their third career starts.
Whalen is 1-0 in his two starts, defeating Pittsburgh in his debut game and getting a no decision on August 8th despite pitching well (six innings, three runs, seven strikeouts) in Atlanta’s 4-3 win at Milwaukee.
Fireballing righty Lopez has been erratic in his first two starts, allowing 14 hits and walking six in 8.2 innings pitched, but he has shown an ability to get the strikeout as he’s fanned 13 batters.