Right now, it’s hard to find a team playing better than the Atlanta Braves in all of Baseball. Their 6-0 win over the New York Mets showcased some incredible pitching, as Aaron Harang finished the game with a 7-inning no hitter that was “ruined” later on by the bullpen, eventually allowing David Wright to get a single hit in the game for the losing side.
Harang has been on too many teams since the beginning of last year. The Braves are his sixth team since April 2013, but he has had a strong start to the 2014 season with a 3-1 record and a 0.70 ERA. He was taken off through seven innings after already throwing 121 pitches, which included walking six players (two of them in the sixth inning) and striking out five. He might have been able to hang on for two more innings, but Fredi Gonzalez didn’t want to risk it.
The Braves have an impressive starting rotation ERA of 1.47 so far this season, which is remarkable because of the changes they made after injuries to Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen and Mike Minor. It was the second time in Harang’s career that he was pulled off after at least six innings after not allowing a single hit, and is just the third pitcher since 1900 with multiple starts where he finished with at least 6 innings of no-hit ball but DIDN’T finish the game. It was his second of the season, while the rest of baseball has just one this season.
There was also plenty of hitting from the 11-5 Braves, with plenty of extra base hitting and one home run coming from Freddie Freeman, who is usually lights out against the Mets. It was his fifth home run of the season (a two-run homer), making it to 12 RBIs this season and 48 career RBI against the Mets in 57 games, which is two more than what Chipper Jones had against the Mets through his first 57 games.
Chris Johnson finished with 3-for-4 including and RBI double in the second inning that opened the scoring. The Mets actually handled things well until the 8th inning, when Gonzalez German came on to pitch and the Braves got four runs against him, not allowing him to complete the inning. Freeman got his home run that also scored B.J. Upton, followed by Dan Uggla with a double scoring on a throwing error, a Jordan Schafer double that scored Johnson and a sac-fly from Justin Upton to score B.J.
Jonathan Niese was the one who picked up the loss despite allowing just one run in six innings, getting hit four times. The Braves could have done so much more in terms of scoring, finishing with only 1-for-11 on situations with runners in scoring positions. The Mets, through walks and a single hit, were only 0-for-3, losing the opener in the series, falling to 8-8 so far this season, doing especially bad when they’re at home (2-5).