Monday, July 2, 2012

Washington Nationals 5 at Atlanta Braves 7 - June 30, 2012

I started this trip three weeks ago with a 3-game set featuring the Jays visiting Turner Field in Atlanta. The Braves had a ticket special that day, four tickets for $30, so I picked up the three Jays games and added a fourth for June 30th against Washington. Originally, I had planned to visit the Gwinnett Braves of the International League, but figured if Stephen Strasburg was starting for Washington, I'd check that out instead.

Well, the pitching rotation worked out and Strasburg (below) was scheduled to start, so I decided to revisit Turner Field. After a 7-hour drive from Daytona Beach,  I arrived in Atlanta and parked at College Park Station, taking MARTA to the ballpark and arriving just as first pitch was thrown at 4:05.

It was a stifling day, with temperatures reaching 106F, the hottest in Atlanta history. It was even hotter on the field and this affected Strasburg. He tossed two shutout innings and managed an RBI single as Washington grabbed a quick 2-0 lead. But in the third, he was visibly tired, and also seemed frustrated by the home plate umpire. A couple of walks (his 3rd and 4th of the day, unusual for a pitcher who averages about 1.5 per game) and a pair of doubles, including one from Dan Uggla (below) gave Atlanta three runs and the lead.

Strasburg batted in the third and walked but was stranded. In the top of the 4th though, he didn't make it back to the mound (it was later reported that he was suffering from heat-related issues). He was replaced by Chien-Ming Wang, who gave up four runs in two innings as the Braves took a 7-2 lead which was enough in a 7-5 win. Phenom Bryce Harper (below) also had a bad day, going 0-5 although he hit the ball hard a couple of times.

A rather disappointing turn of events but it was better than going to the Gwinnett game in the end, as that was delayed for over an hour. With a very early flight back to Toronto for Canada Day, I wouldn't have been able to stay to the end of that one. As the G-Braves are part of the Quest for 400 though, I'll be back in Georgia sometime to check them out.



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