Coming off a long road trip to the West Coast, you could tell that the Atlanta Braves were ready to be back home in front of their home crowd. Counting last night’s win against the Nationals, Atlanta has won nine home games in a row.
The Braves played some of their best baseball in this past series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Part of that was due to the LONG awaited return of second baseman and fan-favorite, Ozzie Albies. He had been out for three months with a fractured foot, and he returned to the lineup on Friday, September 16th. He was received very happily by his teammates and the fans at Truist Park gave him a standing ovation. And when he had his two out, two-run double the fans went crazy. It was great to have Ozzie back. He truly makes the team complete. He provides the energy they need to win ballgames.
However, ill fate was awaiting Ozzie. On Saturday, September 17, in just his second game back, Ozzie Albies was advancing to second base on a fly-out by Eddie Rosario. He slid into second base hands first, and after he slid he stayed hunched over the base. Then and there, all of Braves Country felt a pit form in their stomach, and after watching the replay, things didn’t look good. Ozzie stayed in that inning and ran the bases, but once he got into the dugout he immediately went into the clubhouse to get his hand checked out. Ozzie Albies will miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured right pinky finger. This news is devastating. After all that hard work he did recovering from a fractured foot, he fractured his finger less than two days after returning to send him back to the IL. I’m not entirely sure how his finger got fractured. To me, it looked like Phillies second baseman, Jean Segura might have stepped on Ozzie’s finger by accident, or Ozzie slid into his foot. Either way, it’s a heartbreaking situation. But hopefully, Ozzie will remain in the dugout and cheer on his teammates from there, although he would much rather be on the field playing the game he loves.
Atlanta’s offense has hit a spark since they came home. 1-9 each batter was coming through in one situation or another. Even Matt Olson broke out of his hitless streak and recorded two hits last night. And Ronald Acuña Jr. looked like his old self against the Phillies. He hit a home run in back to back games and played superb defense.
Pitching for the Braves has looked much better, too. The starting rotation did well, making the pitches they need to and kept the Phillies scoreless most of the time. Even relief pitching was lights-out. Collin McHugh pitched well – even pitching two innings in the same game. And Kenley Jansen, who we have seen struggle of late, has come in as closer and been lights-out. He hasn’t gotten into any trouble and hasn’t walked anyone. Hopefully he’s figured out what his problem was and made the necessary changes.
The Atlanta braves are a very fun team to watch. They are currently 1.0 game out of first place in the National League East, and are playing fantastic baseball. If they can keep this up, they have a real shot at beating the Mets in the Eastern division. And when the Mets come to town next week, Truist park is going to be rocking. It is going to be some serious competition and hopefully the Braves will come out on top!