Atlanta Braves Show Phillies Aren't the Only Pitching Titan in the NL East

Joshua BurmeisterContributor IMarch 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: Starting pitcher Derek Lowe #32 of the Atlanta Braves delivers to a Washington Nationals batter during the third inning at Nationals Park on March 31, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

At 1:05 today, Livan Hernandez threw out the first pitch of the season in Washington. Once again, baseball is underway and every city is hoping for postseason glory.

Every fan is given the ability to hope and dream as their teams gear up to take the field. Today Atlanta showed their fans they have reason to hope all season long.

Washington and Atlanta found themselves pitted in a pitchers' duel today in Nationals Park. Both teams were able to keep the other team in check throughout the game.

Washington’s pitching staff looked surprisingly sharp today. Hernandez only allowed one obvious mistake to Jason Heyward during the second inning.

He hung a breaking pitch high and outside that Heyward took for a ride over the outfield wall. Besides that pitch, Hernandez relegated the Braves to singles here or there.

Atlanta was able to match this performance. Derek Lowe was able to pitch through 5.2 innings in today’s game, while collecting six strikeouts on the way. He was able to move his sinker low in the zone, getting the Nationals to ground out.

With this performance by the Atlanta Braves pitching staff, they were able to show that the Philadelphia Phillies are not the only team with horses in their staff.

National attention has been given to Philadelphia with their “Four Horsemen." While Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee stand to be a formidable four, the Atlanta Braves have shown today that they stand strong from top to bottom.

The Braves bullpen was able to close out a remarkable start by Lowe with 3.1 innings of two-hit ball. With Brad Lidge starting the season on the 15-day DL, this performance today looks to be Atlanta’s edge in the NL East race against Philadelphia.

Notable Mentions

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones showed fans that his knees should not be a question this season by turning on the accelerator around first base and sliding in for a double during the first inning.

This quick decision by the veteran ultimately led to the first RBI of the game by Brian McCann, when he hit Jones in during the next at bat.

Freddie Freeman went hitless in the season opener, but looked incredibly sharp in the field.

During the eighth inning Alex Gonzalez made a quick throw to first to peg Werth at first base. Freeman had to pick the throw out of the dirt, making a spectacular save and out.