Let's get real about the start.
Keuchel opened with 3 perfectly-pitched innings. His first HBP to Victor Robles nearly got Braves manager Brian Snitker thrown out of the game. Needless to say, there was a heck of a lot of consternation from Nationals fans when Jose Tabata threw up an elbow to take an HBP and spoil Max Scherzer's perfect game with 2 outs in the 9th, but Victor Robles taking a step toward the pitch and then getting grazed is a sign of "gritty"...
The 4th inning opened with an error on what should have been a deep infield single for Brian Dozier that Ozzie Albies attempted to make a highlight-reel play on, and missed the throw badly, placing Dozier on 2nd. On a 1-0 count, Robles drove a ball to deep right-center that showed exactly why Ronald Acuna may be one of the most gifted natural athletes in the game right now, but he's not a natural center fielder as he misplayed the ball, but it was ruled a triple. 1 run scored, should have been two errors.
The Nationals sacrificed home a run on a well-done sacrifice to score their second run of the inning, but not before the ump missed a strike call badly in that at-bat that got Keuchel out of sorts and nibbling. That nibbling led to a home run from Yan Gomes as the next batter after the sacrifice. Brian McCann went out to speak with Keuchel during the home run, and Keuchel bore down to get a quick groundout from Strasburg and then strikeout Trea Turner to finish the inning.
In the bottom of the 5th, Juan Soto hooked a ball perfectly down the line for a triple and Anthony Rendon followed with a deep infield single. Howie Kendrick scorched a ball right at Acuna in center that I'd wager would have been an out with Inciarte playing, but Acuna played it well enough to hold Kendrick to a single. Keuchel then worked around that to get out of the inning, but not before Robles AGAIN stepped into an HBP, this one just grazing his uniform and never touching his body. The umpires reportedly talked with both managers the next night to let them know that they'd reviewed both HBP and that if Robles did it again the rest of the series, he would not be awarded first base as what he was doing would qualify as encouraging the HBP and no base would be awarded.
The Braves have been known for late-inning work this season (a team with a deep lineup that feasts on fastballs will typically do well in late innings in the modern game), but in spite of runners on in the 6th-9th innings, they couldn't push any runs across, and Keuchel took the hard-luck loss.
I've watched a LOT of Pineda this year. He's got perhaps 1 or 2 starts better than that one this year...and I was not a fan of the Keuchel signing by the Braves, so I'm still quite skeptical, but he showed very well in his first start.
Edited by biggentleben, 24 June 2019 - 01:16 PM.