The Braves faltered in their first series of the new season as they dropped two of three against the Mets in New York. Despite the losing record to start the year, there were flashes of positivity in the Atlanta lineup and rotation.
Matt Kemp: The Atlanta slugger showed off his new physique and continue the power surge that he carried into the offseason. Kemp hit the Braves’ first two home runs of the season off Mets’ starter Matt Harvey, and finished the series 6 for 14 with 4 doubles, 4 RBIs, 2 home runs and a walk while striking out three times.
Julio Teheran: Atlanta’s ace showed why he might be the most underrated pitcher in the majors. His performance was the best of his career on Opening Day, as he pitched six innings of shutout ball while striking out six. Though the Braves’ lineup and bullpen kept him from recording his first win of the season, his outing should give Atlanta fans plenty of optimism going forward.
Bartolo Colon: The 44-year old showed why the Braves gave him a one year deal to steal him away from their division rivals. Colon’s command was impeccable and his fastball was hitting above average velocity. Like Teheran, he also pitched a solid six innings while striking out six, and failed to record his first win of the season despite the Braves’ victory on Wednesday.
Freddie Freeman: What’s wrong with Freddie Freeman? The ubiquitous phrase from last season turned into a rallying cry as the season went on and Freddie became a legitimate MVP candidate. Freddie’s performance in the opening series wasn’t terrible, but it was far from what we’ve come to expect from the star of this team. He went just 3 for 14, while going hitless in the second and third games of the series. After his 3 for 4 performance on Opening Day, Braves’ fans can still feel optimistic about Freddie as long as Kemp is providing some protection behind him in the lineup.
Jaime Garcia: The leftie took the first loss of the season among the Braves’ starters, and he’ll hope to put Thursday’s forgettable performance behind him. He allowed 4 runs over 6 innings in his first start for Atlanta, while failing to strike out any of the Mets’ hitters. Garcia has shown that he’s capable of more, and hopefully his next start will be much improved.
The Bullpen: Excluding top arms Jim Johnson and Arodys Vizcaino, the Atlanta pen combined to give up 8 runs over 6 innings across the three game series. The worst of it game on Opening Day, as the bullpen failed to hold down the Mets’ lineup after ace Julio Teheran held them scoreless for six innings. While the pen did manage to maintain the lead and get the win on Wednesday, they again gave up just enough runs to put the game out of reach on Thursday. This appears to be the weak link of the team moving forward, though it could improve upon the return of Mauricio Cabrera from injury and on the eventual call up of flamethrower AJ Minter