Josh Donaldson is well aware of how many fans viewed his $23 million contract through the first two months of this season. At the same time, he is appreciative of how beloved he has become during a power barrage that has positioned this year’s Braves to possibly become just the fourth team in MLB history to have three different players produce a 40-homer season.
“It’s kind of been full circle, right?” Donaldson said. “At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t playing well. But I had confidence in myself and I had confidence in my team that I was going to turn around. Obviously, the fan base has been remarkable all year long showing up and supporting us. We’re winning a lot of games, so it’s fun to be a part of.”
Though the Braves have not yet earned the right to pop champagne, there was certainly a raucous, celebratory feel in the air as they took another step closer toward clinching the National League East when they held on to claim a 4-3 win over the Nationals on Friday night at SunTrust Park. The victory marked Atlanta's eighth straight win and its 12th straight at home, tying the franchise record in the modern era.
By taking the first two games of this four-game series, the Braves have moved nine games ahead of the Nationals in the division race. They have won eight of the past 11 games played against Washington and their magic number stands at 13 with 20 games remaining.