Heading into their series opener against the Chicago Cubs, the once red-hot Atlanta Braves had lost eight of their past nine games, but when the night ended, they may have gotten their mojo back. Atlanta’s star first baseman, Freddie Freeman, blasted a walk-off single in the 10th inning to finish off the Cubs by a final score of 3-2, and the Braves even saw success from their latest pitching experiment in the win.
Aside from the aforementioned walk-off from Freeman (who also finished with a 3-for-4 night), the biggest storyline of this one was the pitching of two of Atlanta’s young arms. Stud right-hander Julio Teheran navigated eight innings while allowing just one hit (a solo home run from Mike Olt), and he struck out nine while needing only 105 pitches. Interestingly enough, the most dominant closer in the game, Craig Kimbrel, actually let an Atlanta lead get away by allowing a run in the ninth, but that set the stage for a noteworthy event.
In the tenth, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sent left-hander Alex Wood to the mound. This was especially interesting because, earlier in the day, Wood had been notified that he would be moving to the bullpen despite posting very good numbers as a member of the rotation. On cue, he struck out two hitters in scoreless frame, and Wood grabbed the benefit of the win on the strength of the walk-off fireworks.
The Braves are assuredly better than their recent record would indicate, but if Friday night is any indication, things will be on the upswing for Atlanta.