Braves Series Against Nationals Key?

Nationals Park

Nationals Park

The Braves play the Nationals today in a rare Friday afternoon game.  Unless my memory is starting to soften, I can’t ever remember the Braves playing a regularly scheduled tilt on a Friday afternoon.  Can you?

Half the Braves fan base probably won’t realize the game was played in the afternoon until they sit down with their favorite beverage after dinner and turn on the TV to watch a game that is long over.

I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide if this is a “key” series against the Nationals.  Win or lose there will be 156 games left in the season unless a game or games are postponed due to inclement weather, earthquake, or problems with the Obamacare website.  So it really isn’t a “key” series unless the Braves win or lose all three.

Lose all three and fall four games behind the Nationals with 2-3 more weeks before Minor and Floyd return to the starting rotation would not be a good thing.

Make sure you set aside time Saturday night to watch Julio Teheran square off against Nationals ace, Stephen Strasburg, at 7 p.m. ET.  There’s gonna be more K’s than a Mike Krzyzewski family reunion.

The Braves home opener is Tuesday and I don’t like having that event after the season has gone on for over a week. It is like arriving at a New Year’s Eve party at 1:30 in the morning.  Nonetheless, make sure you get your tickets for the game, this is your first opportunity to see the Braves collection of new millionaires in person.

Have a great Friday and don’t forget to pick up your parting gifts on the way out.

  • Wayne Canon

    ROTFL !!
    Brilliant article, Jim. I don’t think this is a ‘make-or-break’ series either, although to sweep or get swept will either raise some eyebrows or tighten some sphincters.

    • Thanks Wayne, brilliant isn’t an adjective that has resided often if ever with my name… lol

  • NorthAlabamaGM

    Yes a sweep would be disheartneing, but not completely destructive. We really only hope to be .500 or above until Minor and Floyd make their appearance … don’t we? However, if we win two I would call this a major plus for the season.
    Go Braves!

    • Mark Bowman has been saying that .500 is the goal but that seems somewhat like a give-up to me. Why can’t the bats carry this ball club for once? If the Nationals win 20+ games this month like I think they might, .500 is going to put the Braves quite a ways back.

      • NorthAlabamaGM

        Well, after going back and reviewing the schedule for this month, 6-6 against the Nats and Marlins combined would be nice. It should be higher than that against the Mets, Phillies, and Reds whether the offense does anything or not.

        • Wayne Canon

          Agreed. A split with the Nats and Fish considering the Braves circumstances would be a moral victory if nothing else.
          However — The Braves have historically had a record of playing at the level of their competition. Second tier teams always seem to give us trouble. We usually win, but the Braves make it more difficult than it should be.
          Watched the Marlins the other day — ain’t nothing shabby about them. They could really make some noise this year.

          • NorthAlabamaGM

            Good pitching can make any team competetive.

          • Wayne Canon

            I just looked up an amazing fact: The Florida Marlins TEAM salary is around 36 million.
            It would tickle me to death if the Marlins finished the season ahead of the Nats.

  • C.J. Smith

    Yeh. I’m with you. I’m not saying its a key series but it could give the Nationals a lot of confidence if they sweep all 3. I think anything less than a sweep will play in Braves favor right now. I know it’s still early but imagine the Nationals being 6-0 and the Braves 2-4. That’s already a 4 game whole against one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, against our injured staff. Not saying it’s a “key series” or anything this early but a sweep could hurt us and boost the Nationals confidence big time.

    • C.J. Smith


    • C.J., the thought of the Braves being down four games to Washington is sickening. The Nationals are a “front-running” type team. When things are going well and they are loosey-goosey they are hard to beat. When they are down their young players seem to lose confidence. Good thing the Braves bounced back and got 2 out of 3 in Milwaukee.

      • C.J. Smith

        Yeh. That’s my thinking as well. Sure, there are 156 games left after the weekend, but we all know that this Nationals team is not going to have as bad as year as they did in 2013

  • BravesBeliever

    Put my glasses on as I cannot seem to find the parting gifts….so I hope they are in the form of many homers and Uggla’s continued doubles and tons of offense because I got a feeling if we do not see a lot of offense, it’s going to be a miserable season. While the starters have shown unexpectedly promising talent from the outset, Floyd and Minor’s opening salvos in the minors were painfully disappointing. Ok…I know, it’s just one short outing but…MAN! Pretty rough. I agree on the scheduling and hope we are happy on the backend when it gets better; however, I HATE opening AND closing away. Sucks! Looks like we’ll see the least talented of the Nats rotation except for Strasberg who the Braves have hit well (or run off with him crying about some malady or another) so that bodes well. I really do think this is an important series if we could sweep or at least take two of three, it would take a LOT of wind out of our chief divisional competing team’s sails which is important as they are a very emotional bunch who seem to be easily frustrated and it would be nice to set that tone for the rest of the season. Hell, I’m just glad we’re rolling into the reg season now! Thank God. I never thought it’d get here! Thanks for another enjoyable, informative and humorous post, Jim! …..departing (with or without parting gifts)……

  • Al Simard

    Trade the Uptons for good fielding replacements and drop Justin in the order behind Gattis until then. They may have to eat salaries, but these guys will cost us the World Series. I love most of the line up. Uggla should be hitting fifth. Great win Fri!

  • Mike Crowe

    LOL, Gosh Jim, you should be doing standup. Yeah it’s a key series. Any series with the Nats is key, especially now with a lame rotation.

  • rogerheld

    You guys got it backwards. Coming back and winning two of three from MIL was more critical than winning 2 of 3 against the Nats. Last year the Brewers were tougher on ATL than the Nats. Easy to get “up” for a Nats game – not as much for the Brew Crew. We were lucky last year to have Justin get off to an incredible start but can’t expect that every year. The bats will come around. Pitchers are always ahead of hitters. And for all the BJ busting going on, he did seem to have things corrected in the Spring. His issue seems to be trying to do too much. I would have to agree that the 2-hole does not seem to work for him. Really, Chris Johnson is the only one that makes sense in the 2-hole – good average, good contact, adaptable hitter. Heyward, CJ, Freddie, Justin, Gattis, Uggla, BJ, Andy. As long as Uggla is hitting or getting on base then having them together in the lineup is not a disaster like last year. Or maybe go back to last year’s winning formula and put Justin in the 2-hole and keep CJ clean-up. Doesn’t make sense in a logical world but it seemed to work pretty well in practice.

    • MIke Crowe

      The Brewers are not in our division. Beating the NL East pick, the Nationals, two of three on the road is key at this point. I would agree with Johnson in the two hole but with a lineup like Atlanta has where there are a lot of strikeouts and guys swinging for the fences, sometimes you have to make exceptions. FG doesn’t know what he has, didn’t last year, so you experiment until you find some chemistry. Jim’s preseason lineup is the one that makes baseball sense, but If having Heyward at leadoff works, or Johnson at cleanup, then stay with it until it quits working. It looks as if this team is going to be a bit unconventional anyway. It happens sometimes.