A bad week turned into a miserable one at Turner Field over the weekend as the Atlanta Braves were swept by the Washington Nationals, who entered Friday with a two-game lead in the NL East. The Braves' pitching (and especially bullpen) was ineffective in all three contests and the offense continued to struggle without the help of Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman.
Fortunately it is still pretty early in the season and the Braves should recover from this losing streak, but a change in their level of play needs to be made soon.
The Braves dropped the first game by a score of 7-4. Tim Hudson struggled mightily in the first inning, and despite a few key hits from Matt Diaz it was too little, too late as Atlanta was unable to rally against the Washington bullpen.
Saturday's game was about as uneven of a matchup as they come with Mike Minor and Stephen Strasburg on the plate, and despite a big two-run homer from Dan Uggla that tied the game at 4-4 it was the Atlanta bullpen struggling yet again as they allowed three runs on route to a 7-4 loss.
The Braves raced out to an early 2-0 lead in the series finale, but the Nationals made Brandon Beachy work for every single out and eventually got him out of the game after five innings. Livan Hernandez had a miserable sixth inning and allowed a homer to Bryce Harper as Atlanta fell by a score of 7-2. Only three hitters recorded a hit for Atlanta and Gio Gonzalez struck out 10 on the night.
The Braves now have a quick turnaround to get ready for the Cardinals on Monday afternoon. Atlanta swept them two weeks ago in St. Louis, but this is hardly the same team from a few weeks back. Tommy Hanson will face Lance Lynn in the series opener.
For more on the Braves, head on over to Talking Chop.