Another split series, but hey, I’d rather have that than a sweep. The Braves lost the first game, won the second, lost the third, and then won the fourth and final game of the series against Cincinnati. Once again pitching was the main problem. I am willing to bet money on it; once the Atlanta Braves can figure out their bullpen problems, they will be an even better team than they have already proved they can be because they won’t be blowing every other game they play.
Game One: Jesse Chavez vs. Tony Santillan, Braves lost 5-3
Atlanta struck first in the scoring category. In the top of the first inning, Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run to give his team a 1-0 lead.
I’d personally never seen Jesse Chavez pitch before this game. His stuff was decent. I would’ve liked to’ve seen him pitch more than just 2.1 innings, but that didn’t happen. In his 2.1 innings, he gave up to hits, two runs, one walk and he had three strikeouts.
The Reds kept up their 2-1 lead all the way into the seventh inning, where they added on. Luke Jackson was pitching for the Braves and this was the first outing where he actually struggled. He gave up a two run home run to Reds right fielder, Nick Castellanos to extend their lead to 4-0.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Braves made a shot at coming back. Freddie Freeman started the inning with a lineout. My my, Ozzie Albies was up to bat following Freeman with one out. On the first pitch he saw, he hit it out of the ballpark for solo home run making the Braves one run closer at 4-2. Austin Riley followed Ozzie’s homer with a single, and then Abraham Almonte reached base on a fielding error by Cincinnati’s first baseman, Joey Votto. Ehire Adrianza came up to bat (he was in the game playing right field for Ronald Acuña Jr., who wasn’t in the game because of back tightness), and he had an RBI single that scored Austin Riley making the score 4-3. The Braves had another opportune chance to score again that inning, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Chris Martin came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning for the Braves and keep them within a one run differential. Martin, however, wasn’t able to do that. After getting the first two batters to groundout and lineout, he gave up a double to the Reds second baseman Jonathan India, which was followed by a walk to Jesse Winker. So, with two out and two on, Nick Castellanos was up to bat. He had a first pitch RBI single that extended the Reds lead to 5-3. Winker was thrown out trying to score all the way from first to end the inning, but India had already scored before he got out.
Game Two: Drew Smyly vs. Vladimir Gutierrez, Braves won 3-2
Drew Smyly pitched very well for Atlanta. He went six innings, gave up six hits, one run, ZERO walks, and he had three strikeouts. His command was good, he had control over where his pitches were going, and he never got into any high-stress situations. To end his outing, Smyly only had 84 pitches. I think he could’ve gone at least another inning.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth. After two quick outs of the Braves’ eighth place hitter and pitcher, Acuña kept the inning alive with a walk. Acuña stole second base and then Freddie Freeman hit a ground-rule, RBI double giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. In the top of sixth inning, with two outs, Dansby Swanson hit a first-pitch, solo home run extending Atlanta’s lead at 2-0.
The Reds scored one in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Tyler Stephenson to make it 2-1. However, Guillermo Heredia hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to extend the Braves lead at 3-1. It was sent into straightaway center, and it went a LONG way.
Cincinnati came one run closer in the bottom of the seventh inning when Eugenio Suarez it a solo home run, but it wasn’t enough and the Braves won with a final score of 3-2.
Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Luis Castillo, Braves lost 4-1
Ian Anderson did not pitch a bad game for the Braves. He just made a couple pitch mistakes and the Cincinnati lineup took advantage of that. Anderson went six inning; he allowed five hits, three runs, one walk, and he had a career-tying nine strikeouts.
The Reds had a three-nothing lead coming into the top of the eighth inning. Freddie Freeman started the inning with a groundout. My man, Ozzie Albies followed his strikeout with a four pitch walk. Austin Riley followed Ozzie with a three pitch, swinging strikeout. There were now two outs with one on. Swanson kept the inning alive with a walk. So two men, Albies and Swanson, reached base via the base-on-balls. Guillermo Heredia had an RBI single that scored Ozzie and got the Braves on the board, making it a 3-1.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Edgar Santana came on to pitch for Atlanta. The second pitch he threw was hit out of the ballpark by Red’s catcher Tyler Stephenson, extending their lead to 4-1.
The Braves could not get their bats to come to life enough in the ninth inning to give them a chance to score, so the Reds won.
Game Four: Kyle Muller vs. Tyler Mahle, Braves won 4-0
What a game for Kyle Muller! He went five scoreless innings, only allowed one hit, two walks, and he struck out nine Cincinnati players. Muller has some impressive stuff. He made pitches when he needed to, he didn’t work too many deep counts, and never had to work his way out of a high-stress situation.
Offensively in this game, it was all Braves. Guillermo Heredia was hit by a pitch to start the top of the third inning. He was followed by two strikeouts; one by cater Kevan Smith and the other by pitcher, Kyle Muller. Acuña kept the inning going with an RBI double, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. The very next pitch following Acuña’s double, Freddie Freeman hit for an RBI single to score Ronald and extend the Braves lead to 2-0.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Braves added onto their lead when Ronald Acuña Jr. went yard, sending one into the seats in straightaway center for a solo home run; making it 3-0 Atlanta. In the top of the sixth inning, Austin Riley decided to get in on the home run fun. He hit a solo home run, also to straightaway center, extending the Braves’ lead once again making it 4-0.
This was an overall great game for the Atlanta Braves. Starting pitch was great and so was the bullpen. Offensively, it went well for the Braves, too. It seems they have a game like this every series. If they can get into the groove/routine of doing this more often, they are going to win a lot more baseball games. Come on, Bravos!