“You know I don’t like talking about that because next week it’ll be something different,” he said. “But we’ve got guys down there you can match up with, with (Eric) O’Flaherty and Avilan from the left side, and (Jordan) Walden can get lefties out. (Craig) Kimbrel at the back end, Gearrin with the righties…. It’s a nice bullpen.”
The relievers’ .188 opponents’ batting average was third-best in the majors before Sunday.
“Our bullpen’s been good the last two, three, four years,” said starter Kris Medlen, who moved from the bullpen to the rotation last summer. “It makes Fredi’s job easier, I know that. If there’s any sign of struggle with the starters, just put in the bullpen. Obviously you don’t think that way as a starter, but knowing the guys we’ve got back there, it’s pretty comforting.”
Pounding Gio: The Braves pounded out seven hits and seven runs in five innings Sunday against Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (1-1), who hadn't allowed seven runs in a start since September 2010. He gave up just six hits and one run in 11 innings of his two previous starts this season.
B.J. Upton set the tone by lining a double to left field on the first pitch of the game.
“It’s important to get out to a fast start, especially against those guys,” said Upton, who faced Gonzalez when both were in the American League, and was 1-for-11 against him before Sunday. “They’re a very good ballclub, and the goal is to pretty much not let Gio get settled in. If he can get settled in, he can be pretty darn good.”