My Thoughts on the Braves Loss in the NLDS Against Phillies:

To quote Brian Snitker, “It’s never over til it’s over.” And now, it’s over.

Honestly, it heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the feelings that the Atlanta Braves players and coaching staff are going through. They gave this 162-game season their all, and you could see that in every game. But, when Postseason baseball comes around, things change. It doesn’t matter how many wins you have, or how good you’ve been all year…what matters is how well you can play in a best-of-five series against a red-hot team. This year, the Braves had to face the Philadelphia Phillies, and quite frankly, they outplayed Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves are a really good team, there is no doubt about that, and they were very capable of winning. However, the Phillies came into this series against the Braves with a major spark and it carried them through. They were able to get hits when they needed to and had good strong pitching throughout the entire series.

The Braves never really had that spark. You could easily see that they wanted to win, and they had multiple chances to score and make that happen, they just couldn’t get the big hit. One of the moments that I think had a big impact on this series was in Game One when they left the bases loaded three times without scoring. You just cant let that happen – especially in a Postseason game.

Another issue was starting pitching. The starting rotation was never really 100% for the Braves in the NLDS. From Max Fried giving up 8 hits and 6 runs (only 4 of them were earned) in 3.1 innings, things didn’t look good. Add on Spencer Strider not being completely healthy and yet he pitched anyway and got into trouble, and then finally for poor Charlie Morton. Morton was pitching very well for the Braves in game four, but then he got a comebacker back to the mound that drilled him on his pitching elbow. He finished the inning and came back out for the inning after, but they had to pull him because things just weren’t looking right. This was hard to watch, not only because he was doing so well and has come up clutch in the Postseason, but because it brought back flashbacks from what happened down in Houston in game one of the World Series when a comebacker hit his lower leg and broke his fibula.

All in all, this Atlanta Braves team never truly seemed 100% healthy coming into the Postseason. With Ozzie Albies not being able to play, Ronald Acuña Jr. having some remaining knee problems, to Tyler Matzek having Tommy John Surgery the day of the NLDS, and other key components — it just wasn’t there for Atlanta.

Even though the Braves got eliminated much too soon, I have full confidence in this Atlanta’s Braves team. Next year they will come back and fight just like they did this year and years past. However, there are two looming questions facing the Braves… Will Dansby Swanson and Max Fried return? Obviously no one wants to see these two go. Fried has proven to be a stud in the starting rotation, and Swanson is a native Georgia-boy who has captivated the hearts of Braves country. No one wants to see either of these two go. Regarding Dansby, however, fans are a little more worried.

After Freddie Freeman signed with the Dodgers, it was made known that Freeman and Swanson had the same agent. Freeman fired his agent earlier this year but Swanson still has him. This automatically brings more concern regarding Dansby remaining a Brave, but I believe if he really truly wants to stay a Brave like he says, then he will accept the offer that the Atlanta Braves office gives him.

Only time will tell what’s going to happen, but right now the Braves are taking this one day at a time. Coming into the offseason they are going to rest, spend time with families, and then start preparing for the 2023 season to come. Only 4 months until Spring Training!

GO BRAVES!

It’s Time! The NLDS Braves vs Phillies Starts Today:

Postseason baseball has officially begun! The Wild Card series’ were full of much excitement and a lot of surprises. The Philadelphia Phillies swept the Saint Louis Cardinals and are now about to face off against the reigning World Series Champions: the Atlanta Braves.

This isn’t going to be an easy series for the Braves. The Phillies have shown to be a better team than most thought they were this year, and they have good hitters and some good starting pitchers. With all this to be said, I still believe the Braves are the better team. Atlanta has had almost a week of rest, and while some people think too much rest is a bad thing and can put them off their game, I think rest was just what the Braves have needed. The series that Atlanta played with the Mets was crucial, and I am sure it was both physically and mentally exhausting for the Braves players…they gave that series their all. And giving it their all is what they’re going to have to do throughout the Postseason.

Starting pitching wise, the Braves have a solid rotation. Max Fried has been announced to start game one, and I think they’ll start Kyle Wright in game two and most likely Charlie Morton for game three. Spencer Strider could have the possibility of starting in the NLDS, but I don’t think the Braves will rush him into pitching. They will want him completely healed and without risk of injuring himself worse.

The Braves have a good bullpen. We have seen them be lights-out countless times this season. Those pitchers have A+ stuff. We have seen them pitch in high leverage situations and come out on the winning side…we especially saw this in the decisive Braves vs. Mets series. The one thing that is going to bring some concern is the closing role in the bullpen. That role belongs to Kenley Jansen. Kenley has had his ups and downs this season, but he has come through when the games have mattered the most. We can only hope to see him bring those same results as we enter the Postseason.

Offensively, we known the Braves have a LOT of power. They can hit the home run ball left and right. However, they are going to need more than home runs to carry them through the Postseason. Small ball is important in any baseball game, but it is even bigger in Postseason games. Getting on base, moving runners over, and scoring is what matters most. Yes, you can score with a home run, and they are loud and exciting, but you have to be able to score runs without a home run. You have to be able to take advantage of pitchers “slip-ups” such as walks. There are only so many runners you can leave on base without it coming back to bite you in a huge way. This will be something for the Braves to start to do more of as we begin Postseason baseball.

The Atlanta Braves have superb defense. The infield especially is quite impressive. This is something that has helped Atlanta throughout the entire season. Having a good defense behind your pitchers is something you can’t take for granted. The Braves defense always seems to come through in huge situations. We saw this in last year’s Postseason and time and time again this season.

Everything is set at a higher standard in the Postseason. It’s the best of the best battling against one another to avoid elimination and come out on top as Champions. We saw the Atlanta Braves do this last year, and they are just as capable to do it again this year. It will be an exciting Postseason run this year and the Braves won’t go down without a fight!

One more thing to add. Ozzie Albies, who fractured his right pinky ringer in mid-September against the Phillies, just two days after returning from a foot injury, is now out of his cast. This is a huge step for Albies who has the potential of making a Postseason return. This is another aspect of that extra week of rest from clinching the Division that has played so well in the Braves favor. Ozzie Albies will have to regain some strength in his hand after being in a cast, and the Braves coaching staff will be cautious with him, not wanting to risk another injury to their young superstar. On another note regarding Albies, it was announced today that he will be traveling with the Braves for the NLDS and will participate in on-the-field activities and workouts with the team. All of these are huge steps in the right direction, and I know that the team and all of Braves country would be over the moon to see Albies come back in the Postseason!

GO BRAVES!!

My Offseason Predictions: Who I Think the Braves Should Re-Sign

Now that the World Series is over, it’s now time to start looking into the offseason. 2021 was a very exciting season, especially for the Atlanta Braves! #worldchamps They had a rough start but came through big-time at the trade-deadline. That being so, a lot of the players they acquired are now going to be free agents.

Here’s a look at the Braves 2021-22 free agents:

Ehire Adrianza (SS), Jesse Chavez (RHP), Freddie Freeman (1B), Chris Martin (RHP), Joc Pederson (OF), Tanner Roark (RHP), Eddie Rosario (OF), Jorge Soler (OF), Drew Smyly (LHP), Josh Tomlin- he has a club option (RHP), and Stephen Vogt (C).

There are a lot of names on this list, obviously some stick out more than others. Every single one of these guys on this list helped the Braves get to their World Series title in some way or another, and you would want to keep every single one. But realistically, that won’t happen.

Freddie Freeman. He is BY FAR the biggest name on this list. It is crazy to think about a Braves team without Freddie. Freeman has been with Atlanta for his entire career, and he has been the face of the team for many years now.. Through the highs and lows, Freddie Freeman has always been here, giving everything he’s got in him to help his team win. Personally, I don’t think the Braves will let Freeman go. Millions of Braves fans would be very disappointed if they did!

The Braves front office has offered Freeman a qualifying offer of 18.4 million dollars for one year. This isn’t another long-term offer like the one Freeman signed back in 2014, so he will most likely reject the offer. However, Freddie has made it very clear he wants to remain with the Braves for the rest of his life, and the front office and the whole team wants that as well. It’s just a matter of time, money, and negotiations.

Joc Pederson, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, and Adam Duvall are all outfielders. With Ronald Acuña Jr. expected to come back and play outfield full time in 2022, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Braves to resign all of these players and let them sit on the bench and have an occasional pinch-hit appearance. It wouldn’t be fair to these very talented players, and it would not make the most sense for the team as a whole.

Joc Pederson. Pederson has declined his mutual option with the the Braves and has now become a free agent. Because of this, in my opinion, resigning Pederson is completely off the table for Atlanta.

Adam Duvall. Like Pederson, Duvall also declined his mutual option, but he is still Arbitration-Eligible. With the strong possibility of there being a universal DH in 2022, Duvall, a very powerful hitter, could fill that role for Atlanta. However, he is quite a good defender. He played every single position in the outfield for the Braves, and sometimes he would switch positions during games. He also won his first Gold Glove this year, proving his defense is better than most give him credit for. Duvall has come through for the Braves in the three seasons he has played for them. I think it would make sense for Atlanta to bring him back as an outfielder.

Jorge Soler. This man not only has a big stature, but BIG power. Soler came over to Atlanta after the trade deadline and was huge for the Braves. He brought big-time power to their offense and filled their leadoff spot. He also came through huge in the postseason. He hit a home run that left the Houston Astros ballpark in game six!!! To me, it would make sense for the Braves to resign Soler. Once again, with the strong possibility of the DH, it makes a lot of sense to bring him back to fill that roll. After all, when he was with the Kansas City Royals, he was their DH. And, he isn’t the greatest defender, but he has a very good eye at the plate and a lot of power. I think it would be a great decision for Atlanta to bring Soler on as our DH (should we have one).

Eddie Rosario. Talk about an exciting player! Not only was he the NLCS MVP, he had some other huge moments for the Braves in the short time that he played. After all, the Atlanta Braves front office signed him while he was injured, because they saw his possibility. Yes, he wasn’t known to be a great defender, but he made some very good plays for Atlanta while he was in left field. So, I think it would make sense to resign him with Marcell Ozuna’s legal affairs still up in the air, and not anticipating the Braves to resign him.

After going through the bigger names on this list, there are still some others on here that proved useful for the Braves: Jesse Chavez and Ehire Adrianza, especially.

Adrianza came through being on the Braves’ bench. He proved he could come off the bench and come up with a clutch hit…which is what your bench players are supposed to do. Johann Camargo was the Braves bench man, but he did not have a single hit for Atlanta this year, so he will start next year in Triple-A Gwinnett. It makes sense for the Braves to resign Ehire to add extra depth to their bench, but if the DH does come to the National League, a bench player wouldn’t necessarily be needed.

Jesse Chavez pitched very well for the Braves in his appearances. He was their opener for a couple games, and got Atlanta out of some tough spots in close games. While a player like Chris Martin is also a free agent and has pitched for Atlanta, Chavez was overall more constant. To me, that gives him the edge on being resigned.

After a review on these players, here is who I think the Atlanta Braves should bring back: Freddie Freeman, Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario, Ehire Adrianza, and Jesse Chavez.

These are just my picks, and of course, I don’t have any say in who the Atlanta Braves bring back. It will be an interesting offseason for the Braves, and hopefully the decisions they make won’t hurt them in the long run!

BRAVES ARE NL CHAMPIONS!!

Wow. This is really happening!!!! The Atlanta Braves are in the World Series!! Words cannot begin to describe how exciting this is, and I can’t even imagine how pumped the entire Braves team and coaching staff is. The staff has every reason to be this excited because this is Atlanta’s first World Series appearance since 1999. That was 22 years ago! It was HUGE for the Braves to make it to the World Series, but now that they have made it…they have a bigger goal on their minds. 🙂

Where in the world would this team be without Eddie Rosario?!? It’s safe to say that Atlanta would not have had the success in the NLCS that they had without Rosario. He had a total of 14 hits, three home runs, a walk off, and nine RBI’s. That is insane! Rosario came to the Braves as an injured player…he was unable to play. However, this acquisition for the Atlanta Braves came through big time, even if they had to wait a little while before Eddie could actually play. But when he could play for this Braves team, we quickly realized he was worth the wait. Not only could he make some good plays in left field, but man…he can hit! His bat provided some series pop for Atlanta’s offense.

This entire NLCS was huge for the Braves. They were playing the LA Dodgers, who beat them in last year’s NLCS with a disappointing game seven. LA went on to win the World Series in 2020. Brian Snitker’s Braves wanted NONE of that this year. Yes, the Dodgers had gotten Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nationals, and arguably they had one of the best pitching staffs in all of MLB. BUT that did not scare Atlanta. In fact, the Braves’ hitters beat up on all three of LA’s aces –Max Scherzer, Julio Urías, and Walker Buehler. That is very impressive because usually those guys are un-hittable. *Clayton Kershaw was not on the postseason roster due to injury.

The Atlanta Braves had two walk-offs; one in game one by Austin Riley, and the other in game two, by Eddie Rosario. Both walk-off singles came in the bottom of the ninth inning and sent Truist Park into a frenzy! Those were just two of the incredible hits the Braves had in moments where they needed them most.

Starting pitching wasn’t as great as expected, but the bullpen was beyond impressive. Except for the one home run that Luke Jackson gave up to Cody Bellinger in game three, Atlanta’s bullpen was, pretty much lights-out. We have to give SO much credit to Tyler Matzek. Every single time he came out of that bullpen for the Braves, he was on point. You could tell from his expression on the mound and the accuracy of his pitches that he was zoned in. Another pitcher who was great from the bullpen was closer Will Smith. Smith had a rollercoaster regular season as the Braves closer. It seemed that every time he was on the mound, he got himself into a situation that did not look good. He was TOTALLY different in the postseaon. In almost every appearance he was three up, three down. He did give up an occasional walk or single, but nothing too serious or nerve-wracking. Bullpen pitching was crucial to the Atlanta Braves in this series, and the pitchers coming out of our bullpen, did not disappoint.

It is still hard to grasp that after everything that this Braves team has gone through in 2021 (losing Acuña not getting Soroka back, staying at .500 for the longest time) they did not give up for one second. And now, all that hard work and perseverance has paid off. Atlanta is the National League Champs! They beat the Los Angelas Dodgers in six games, at home in Truist Park, and are now headed to the World Series where they will face the Houston Astros to see who will win the title of World Series Champs.

GO BRAVES!

Braves Advance to NLCS!

Wow. What a series against the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves!! This series was nothing short of amazing. Pitching was great from both teams, offense was hard to come by for the first three games, and then in game four, the Braves won the series and have advanced. And what’s a better way to do it than at your home park with your fans cheering you on??

NLDS Game One: Charlie Morton vs. Corbin Burnes, Braves lost 2-1

This game was a serious pitching duel. In fact, this whole series was a low scoring, pitchers duel. Charlie Morton pitched phenomenal for the Braves. Morton pitched six innings, allowed three hits, gave up two hits, had nine strikeouts and only one walk. He pitched into the seventh inning, and that is where he gave up the two runs that the Brewers scored. They came on a two-run homer by Rowdy Tellez to give them a 2-0 lead. Those two runs were enough to allow Milwaukee to win.

Atlanta got one run on the board in the top of the eighth inning. Joc Pederson came on to pinch-hit. He hit a solo home run to left-center, to make it a 2-1 game. However, that was the only run that the Braves could produce and the Brewers took game one.

Now, the Atlanta Braves had a chance to score in the top of the first inning. They had runners on first and third with no outs. Ozzie Albies was up to bat, and he hit into an unfortunate double play. Brewers first baseman Rowdy Tellez (who later hit the game winning home run) caught a sinking line drive up the foul line to rob Ozzie of at least a single, and then completed the double play with a strong throw to home plate to get Jorge Soler out.

That double play set the tone of the whole game. Both teams knew runs were going to be hard to come by, and that missed run scoring opportunity for Atlanta came back to haunt them when they only lost by one run.

Game Two: Max Fried vs. Brandon Woodruff, Braves won 3-0

With Max Fried on the mound for Atlanta, you are pretty much guaranteed for a good, strong outing. He did not disappoint. Fried pitched six scoreless innings, allowed three hits, zero walks, and struck out nine. Fried only had 81 pitches through his six innings, I was surprised that Brian Snitker did not bring him back out for the seventh inning. But everything worked out in the end.

The Braves came up with a total of three runs. In the top of the third inning, Jorge Soler reached base with a double. Freddie Freeman scored Soler with an RBI single to make it 1-0. To make it a 2-0 lead, Ozzie Albies hit a booming double off the top of right field wall. Getting a good read off the ball, Freeman scored easily. What turned out to be a double, was almost a home run. Albies’ double hit right off the top of the yellow line. But it went back into the field of play, therefore it was not a home run.

In the top of the sixth inning, Austin Riley hit a towering solo home run to make it a 3-0 game. He sent that baseball a long way into straight away center field. That man has some power!

Atlanta’s bullpen was lights out for the rest of the game and backed up Fried’s great outing. This win for the Braves tied the series 1-1.

Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Freddy Peralta, Braves won 3-0

Ian Anderson took the mound for Atlanta in this game. He pitched five innings, allowed three hits, zero runs, zero walks, and he had six strikeouts. Anderson had a good outing, and he is proving time and time again what a good pitcher he his. Ian could have gone another inning, but he had 84 pitches and, like with Fried, Brian Snitker played it safe and only let him go five innings. And, he gave us a quality start — in a game like this one, that was all that mattered.

Like in game one, the Braves had a good chance of scoring early. In the bottom of the second inning, the Braves had runners on first and second with one out. Austin Riley was on third and Adam Duvall was the runner on first. Travis d’Arnaud was up to bat and he flew out to left field. His fly out was plenty deep enough to score Riley from third so he tagged up. Riley was halfway down the third base line when Duvall decided (on his own) to try and advance to second. Brewers’ left fielder, Christian Yelich saw what Duvall was trying to do, threw to second base, and got Adam Duvall out. That was a huge blow to Atlanta early and it shifted the mood of the game.

Like Atlanta, the Brewers had chances to score but couldn’t pull the trigger. In the top of the fifth inning, Milwaukee had second and third and no one out. They got into a run down between third and home, and then couldn’t come up with any way to score.

Joc Pederson came on to pinch hit for Ian Anderson in the bottom of the fifth. With no one out, Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud were on base. After a questionable strike two call to give Pederson a 1-2 count, Joc hit an elevated fastball and it left the ballpark in a hurry. His three-run homer went into the Chop House and gave Atlanta a huge 3-0 lead.

Those three runs from Pederson’s home run were all that the Braves’ pitching staff needed. The bullpen was lights out and preserved a 3-0 lead. That gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead in the series.

Game Four: Charlie Morton vs. Erik Lauer, Braves won 5-4

This game was awesome. It was a rollercoaster, though. Scoring was ALL over the place. At some points int the game, when things started looking good for the Braves, the Brewers would come back and take the lead. However, in the end, it was our Atlanta Braves who held on and won, advancing to the NLCS.

Charlie Morton started this game for Atlanta. With him starting on only three days rest, we knew he wasn’t going to go more than five innings. Morton went 3.1 innings, allowed four hits, two runs, one walk, and had five strikeouts. Coming into this, we knew that Charlie was not going to have his best stuff coming off of only three days rest, and there was the chance that Milwaukee’s hitters would see his pitches better since they saw him just three days before. All of this coming into play, Morton did not do a bad job at all, he kept the scoring low, and kept his team in this game.

Coming into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Braves were down 2-0. The Brewers had scored two off of Charlie Morton via two RBI singles. Atlanta, however, did not let that hinder their determination. To lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, Austin Riley had a single. Adam Duvall and Joc Pederson followed him with pop-outs to make two quick outs. Travis d’Arnaud kept the inning alive with a walk, and then Guillermo Heredia was hit by a pitch to load the bases. In this situation, the Braves had a great chance to score…it was just a matter of being able to do it. And they did just that! Eddie Rosario was up to bat. After getting two quick strikes, Rosario hit a line drive single into center field that allowed two runners to score, and tied the game 2-2.

Huascar Ynoa came onto pitch the fifth inning for Atlanta. He started the inning with a single to Christian Yelich, and got a strikeout to make the first out of the inning. Then, he gave up a mammoth two-run home run to Rowdy Tellez, giving the Brewers are 4-2 lead. That home run changed the ENTIRE atmosphere of the ballpark quick. The fans went from being excited because the game was tied, to dead silent because their team was all of a sudden losing again.

Down 2-0 the Braves had to come up with some offense. To start off the bottom of the fifth inning, Freddie Freeman struck out. Ozzie Albies reached base after him on a infield single. Austin Riley walked and then, Adam Duvall was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Joc Pederson grounded into an RBI forceout that allowed Ozzie to score from third, making it a 4-3 game. And then, to tie the game, Travis d’Arnaud had an RBI single that scored Austin Riley and made it a 4-4 game. Once again, the Braves’ fans had something to cheer about!

With the game still tied in the eighth inning, the Milwaukee Brewers decided to bring on their closer Josh Hader. Hader is normally the Brewers closer. I’m not entirely sure why they brought him on to pitch the eighth instead of the ninth inning, but I’m not complaining! 😉 After Hader got two quick outs of Eddie Rosario and Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman was up to bat. Freddie wasted no time. On the very first pitch he saw, Freddie hit a solo home run to center field giving the Braves a 5-4 lead.

Immediately after that home run was hit, the entire vibe of the ballpark shifted. The fans were louder than ever, Atlanta’s dugout was ecstatic, and Freddie Freeman, who normally doesn’t show much emotion, was shouting with all of them. His home run was just enough for the Atlanta Braves’ closer, Will Smith, to get the last three outs of the game, record the win, and send the Braves to the NLCS!

This series was nothing short of what you would want a postseason series to be like. It was entertaining, stressful, and for the most part, well played. So many things took place to make the Braves win the series, but these are the top three things for me:

  • Pitching:

Not only was the starting pitching in this series great for Atlanta…but so was the bullpen. The Braves’ bullpen throughout this entire series was lights out. Yes, the relievers would give up a hit here and there, but they did not allow a SINGLE Brewers runner to score. Now that is impressive!

  • Joc Pederson’s game three home run:

Joc Pederson is one cool player. Not only is he rocking his pearl necklace, but he can hit. In pinch-hitting appearances for the Atlanta Braves in this series, Joc was 3-3. Plus, two of those hits were home runs…one of which won game three for the Braves. That is crazy! Having the kind of depth that Pederson has shown he can bring off the bench is huge for Atlanta. Not only is it important in the regular season to have a good pinch-hitter, it is even more important in a postseason game, when at any point you could face elimination.

  • Freddie Freeman’s Home Run:

Obviously this was a huge moment in this series. Coming into a tied ballgame, against one of the best closers in baseball, and hitting the game winning home run is definitely a huge moment. Freddie Freeman’s home run against Josh Hader just continues to prove the resilience of the Braves’ team. After they lost Acuña, got the news that Soroka wasn’t going to be able to pitch this year, and losing Marcell Ozuna to legal matters…things did not look good for Atlanta. But did they give up? Absolutely not! They played even better, harder baseball and you could tell there was a purpose behind it. And it took the WHOLE team to do it. Not just two or three players, no. Every single player on the Atlanta Braves’ roster came through in some way or another, and they couldn’t be here with ought them.

And now, they are going into the NLCS with their heads held high and their eyes on the prize. That prize being a 2021 World Series title.

Go Braves!

The Atlanta Braves Clinch the NL East For the FOURTH Year in a Row!!

Wow! What a series this was, and what a season this has been for our Atlanta Braves. So many things led up to this fourth annual Division Title. And I feel this was the most rewarding of them all.

When the Braves lost Ronald Acuña Jr. on July 11 with a torn ACL, so many people gave up hope on Atlanta saying, “How can we win without Acuña?”. Let me tell you…my faith in what these Atlanta Braves can do did not waver one bit. If anything, I felt that since so many people gave up on the Braves, that they would be even better and knock everyone’s socks off with how good they could be. Atlanta definitely proved every single one of those doubters wrong! 🙂

When you think about how the Braves got to this clinch there are so many things that come to mind. But I firmly believe the most significant of those is all the trade deadline deals made by Alex Anthpoulos, the Atlanta Braves general manager. He went out and got Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Richard Rodriguez, Stephen Vogt, and Eddie Rosario. Joc Pederson came earlier in the season, but he has still played a big part in this comeback season for Atlanta.

After the deadline and the new players started playing for the Braves, it was like things just started to click. In August, Atlanta won nine games in a row and didn’t look back. In those nine games, the Braves went from being in fourth place in the NL East standings, to being in first place. That is HUGE!

Once the Braves got to first place, it still wasn’t easy. The Mets had gone on a losing streak, but the Philadelphia Phillies had gotten hot fast and were in second place in the division and kept the race interesting. I think it made their clinch even better for it to be against the Phillies – their biggest rivals. For the Atlanta Braves to have gone through everything that they went through, to fight their way back into the division race and maintain first place, this was a very memorable game and season for the Braves.

I can’t wait to see what the Postseason has in store for them!!

Braves vs. Giants Sereis Wrap

Coming into this series everyone knew how important it was. The San Fransisco Giants had the best record in all of MLB. However, the Atlanta Braves know how to win ballgames! They won the series, winning two out of three.

Game One: Max Fried vs. Kevin Gausman, Braves won 6-5

This was a good, exciting game. The Braves were behind all game until the bottom of the seventh inning. Then they had an offensive burst in the bottom of the sixth inning and were able to barley hold on a win.

Even though he didn’t get the win, Max Fried pitched a pretty good game for Atlanta. He went six innings, allowed five hits, four runs, he allowed ZERO walks, and had five strikeouts. He did not pitch a bad game. He just had a couple slip-ups and the Giants took advantage of them.

In the top of the first inning, San Fransisco took a two run lead. Buster Posey hit a two-run home run, giving them an early 2-0 lead. Max Fried does not give up that many home runs, but in a 3-0 count, he hung a pitch in the strike zone and the Giants catcher took advantage of it.

The Giants added on another run in the top of the second inning. Kevin Gausman grounded into an RBI force out, making it a 3-0 game.

The Braves got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second. Adam Duvall launched a solo shot to left centerfield, making it a 3-1 game.

In the bottom of the third inning, Austin Riley made it a 3-2 game. He hit an RBI single that scored Jorge Soler who singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

However, in the top of the fourth inning, the Giants got that run right back. Tommy La Stella hit an RBI double that scored Wilmer Flores making it a 4-2 game.

The Braves had a huge offensive burst in the bottom of the seventh inning. It turned out to be crucial to their win. Adam Duvall started the inning with a strikeout, then Joc Pederson reached base on a walk. Guillermo Heredia came on as a pinch hitter. He hit a first-pitch single that advanced Pederson to second. With two on and one out, Ozzie Albies was up to bat. On the first pitch he saw, he hit a booming RBI double that scored Joc Pederson and advanced Hereida to third. His double made it a 4-3 game. San Fransisco went to their bullpen, and brought on Zach Littell. Jorge Soler didn’t greet him very kindly. On the FIRST-PITCH he saw, Soler hit a monstrous three-run home run. His homer gave the Braves the lead at 6-4.

Will Smith came on to pitch the ninth inning for Atlanta. Throughout most, if not all of his appearances, Smith gives up at least one run. He did the same thing in this appearance. Smith gave up a solo home run to Wilmer Flores, the first batter he faced making it a 6-5 game. Luckily, Will Smith was able to hold on to that one run lead, and the Braves took game one.

Game Two: Huascar Ynoa vs. Logan Webb, Braves lost 5-0

Huascar Ynoa pitched well for the Braves. He gave up two runs on three hits over six innings of work. He also had three walks and three strikeouts. Overall, Ynoa did not pitch a bad game, he just didn’t get any offensive support — and the bullpen didn’t help him out.

San Fransisco scored their first run in the top of the first inning. Tommy La Stella, their second baseman, hit a solo home run giving the Giants a 1-0 lead. To give them a 2-0 lead, La Stella then hit a sac fly in the top of the third. Those were the only two runs that Ynoa surrendered.

The Giants did not score again until the seventh inning. Richard Rodríguez was pitching for Atlanta. He gave up a first-pitch, solo homer to Mike Yastrzemski. That made it a 3-0 game. Rodríguez has been very lights-out for the Braves since they got him at the trade deadline. This was one of the very few runs he has surrendered.

Chris Martin gave up the other two and final runs to the San Fransisco Giants. He surrendered an RBI single to Darin Ruf, and a first-pitch RBI double to Yastrzemski to make the score 5-0.

The Braves had a couple chances to score throughout this game, but they just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Anthony DeSclafani, Braves won 9-0

Well, the Giants shut them out the night before, so it was only fitting that the Atlanta Braves did the same to them!

Ian Anderson pitched very well for the Braves. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowed four hits, zero runs, only to walks, and he had ZERO strikeouts. What?!? Zero strikeouts? That is an unusual thing to see from a pitcher in this day and age. But Anderson’s stuff was sharp and the Giants hitters were constantly making contact and getting balls on the ground. Not to mention, Atlanta has A-plus defense in the infield, so Anderson knew if he got the ball on the ground, he didn’t have to worry.

The Braves offense opened up in the fourth inning. Jorge Soler led off the inning with a solo home run to get Atlanta on the board with a 1-0 lead. Freddie Freeman reached base on a single and then, to give them a 3-0 lead, Austin Riley hit a two-run homer.

Eddie Rosario, playing in his first game for Atlanta, had a two-RBI triple that scored Joc Pederson and Dansby Swanson. The Giants reviewed the play at third (Rosario was originally called safe) the called went in the Braves favor and was upheld, making it a 5-0 Braves lead.

To lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, Ozzie Albies had a double. Jorge Soler reached base after Albies on a single. Freeman had an RBI single that scored Ozzie, extending the Braves lead to 6-0. To make it a 7-0 lead, Joc Pederson scored Soler on a sac fly.

Atlanta scored their final two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Guillermo Heredia scored on a wild pitch to make it an 8-0 score. Then, to add the final blow, Ozzie Albies crushed a solo home run into the left field seats, making it a final score of 9-0!

This was a crucial series for the Braves. They played every game hard and with everything they had. It paid off. When you play with confidence and a reason to play, you’ve got a shot at winning no matter what type of team you are playing.

Braves vs. Yankees

All good things must come to an end. Coming into this series, the Atlanta Braves had won nine games in a row. The New York Yankees had also won nine in a row. Both teams were red-hot. One of these teams’ win-streak was going to end. Unfortunately it was the Braves’ that ended. Their streak was snapped, and they ended up getting swept in a two-game-set.

Game One: Huascar Ynoa vs. Jordan Montgomery, Braves lost 5-1

Huascar Ynoa made his second start for the Braves in this game since his long-awaited return from the IL. He pitched six innings, allowed four hits, three runs, only one walk, and he had nine strikeouts. Ynoa’s outing was not bad – Giancarlo Stanton was just all over him. All three runs that Huascar allowed, were by Stanton. The first run was a solo home run that he hit in the top of the first inning to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Braves tied the game. Dansby Swanson hit a solo home run into center field to make it a 1-1 game. It was a first pitch bomb, and Swanson got Atlanta right back in this game.

In the top of the sixth inning, Giancarlo Stanton broke the tie. He hit a two-RBI double that made it a 3-1 game. A 3-1 game is still manageable.

However, in the top of the eighth inning, the Yankees added onto their lead. Edgar Santana came onto pitch for the Braves. He got the first two outs via a groundout. Then he gave up a single to Aaron Judge and a full-count walk to Joey Gallo. Santana had a balk which advanced the runners to second and third. I think the balk shook Edgar up, because he walked the next batter to load the bases. Seeing that Santana was shaken up, Brian Snitker brought Jesse Chavez in to pitch. Chavez surrendered a two-run double that made it a 5-1 game.

Atlanta’s offense wasn’t able to produce any more run support other than Swanson’s solo shot back in the second inning.

Game Two: Charlie Morton vs. Andrew Heaney, Braves lost 5-4

Whew. What a suspenseful game! It was a great, exciting game to watch – it just would’ve been better if the Atlanta Braves could have pulled out a comeback win.

Charlie Morton pitched decent for the Braves. It wasn’t as good of a start as we’re used to from him, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. He pitched five innings, allowed six hits, four runs, had zero walks, and nine strikeouts. So he had his good stuff, the Yankees were just able to get hits and score runs off of him.

Atlanta started the scoring. In the bottom of the first inning, with two outs, Freddie Freeman reached base on a walk and Austin Riley reached base when he was hit by a pitch. Dansby Swanson scored both Freeman and Riley with a booming two-RBI double into center field. His hit gave the Braves a 2-0 lead.

The Yankees got on the board in the top of the second inning. Giancarlo Stanton hit a line-drive, solo home run into center field. That made it a 2-1 game, Atlanta still on top. New York tied the game on an RBI single the top of the fourth that scored Aaron Judge, making it a 2-2 game.

The Yankees broke the 2-2 tie in the top of the fifth inning. DJ LeMahieu hit a two-run homer to make it a 4-2 game.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Braves sparked an offensive rally. After Abraham Almonte struck out to start the inning, Ozzie Albies hit a first-pitch single to reach base. Jorge Soler walked to advance Ozzie to second. Freddie Freeman grounded into a force out which advanced Ozzie to third, but got Soler out at second. Austin Riley hit a single that scored Ozzie from third. Freddie Freeman tried to score on the play, too, but he was called out. The Braves coaching staff challenged the play and Freddie looked safe, but the umpires did not see any “clear and convincing” evidence so Freeman was called out. Even though he didn’t score, Ozzie did and made it a 4-3 game.

The Yankees added on what turned out to be their insurance run in the top of the seventh inning. It came on a solo home run by Rougned Odor. His home run made it a 5-3 game.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, things got really interesting really fast. The New York Yankees ace Aroldis Chapman was on the mound. He got Travis d’Arnaud to groundout for the first out. Then on the first pitch he saw, Adam Duvall wasted no time and hit a single! Guillermo Heredia struck out to make out number two. Then, with two outs, Chapman did something he almost NEVER does. He walked pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza on four straight pitches. So with two on and two out, it was all up to my man Ozzie Albies. Ozzie worked a 3-2 count, and on the seventh pitch of his at-bat, he hit a ground ball to third base. Now Ozzie isn’t a slow dude, so the Yanks third baseman had to hurry. He fielded the ball and threw it to first as quickly as he could. Ozzie was…SAFE!! Ozzie beat out the baseball and had an infield single to load the bases. And then, Aroldis Chapman had a full-count, bases loaded walk that scored Adam Duvall. That made it a 5-4 game.

The Braves did something few teams can do…they got to Chapman and scored off of him. He was sweating SO much his hat was soaked and the sweat was dripping down the front of it like a waterfall. Aroldis Chapman is arguably the best closer in baseball, but the Braves took full advantage of him.

The Yankees went deeper into their bullpen and brought Wandy Peralta on to try and close out the game. He didn’t have an easy task. He had to face Freddie Freeman with the bases loaded! However, he did his job. He got Freddie Freeman to fly out just shy of the warning track to end the game. Even though the Braves didn’t win, they sure gave all of Braves country a finish…and every Yankees fan a big scare!

We all knew that at some point the Atlanta Braves were going to get beaten and get their streak snapped. It just so happened that the New York Yankees were the team to do it. Hopefully, with the Braves’ important stretch of games coming up, they can bring their offense AND pitching back to their A+ stuff.

Braves vs. Orioles Series Wrap

Wow. Another sweep! The Atlanta Braves have swept three teams in a row. That’s insane! Yes, this sweep was against another “easier” team, but every game is important no matter what team you are playing. Hopefully they can keep this up.

Game One: Max Fried va. Keegan Akin, Braves won 3-0

What a game for Max Fried! He pitched ALL nine innings. Not only did he pitch the entire game…he pitched a shutout!!! He only allowed four hits, and did not walk a single batter. And, he only threw 90 pitches. This was an extremely impressive outing for Fried, and I’m sure it was one he’ll never forget.

All of the Braves runs came via the home run ball. In the top of the second inning, Dansby Swanson led off with a first-pitch single. Travis d’Arnaud followed his single with a two-run homer. That got Atlanta on the board and made it a 2-0 game.

They scored their other run in the top of the third inning. Jorge Soler hit a solo home run that made it a 3-0 Braves lead. That was the final run scored in the game. For the Atlanta Braves and Max Fried, three runs was all they needed.

Game Two: Drew Smyly vs. Matt Harvey, Braves won 5-4

Drew Smyly pitched well for Atlanta. He went five innings, allowed five hits, three runs, zero walks, and he had eight strikeouts. He gave up a solo home run in the top of the first inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead, but was able to limit the damage that inning.

After the Orioles took a 1-0 lead, the Braves started their scoring. In the top of the third, Ozzie Albies started the inning with a strikeout. Jorge Soler followed him with a walk, and then Freddie Freeman was hit by a pitch. With two runners on base, Austin Riley struck out to make the second out. On the very next pitch, Dansby Swanson hit a two-RBI double making it a 2-1 game, giving Atlanta the lead.

Joc Pederson extended the Braves lead in the top of the fourth inning. He crushed a solo home run into straightaway center, making it a 3-1 game.

Although the Braves had a two run lead, Smyly’s home run problem got the best of him. He gave up two solo home runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at three apiece.

However, that 3-3 tie didn’t last long! In the top of the fifth inning, Austin Riley hit a solo shot. The Braves added one more run in the top of the ninth inning. It came on a sac fly by Jorge Soler. His sac fly scored Stephen Vogt from third base. He reached base earlier that inning and then was advanced to third when my man Ozzie had a single.

It was a good thing that the Braves added on that extra run in the top of the ninth inning. Will Smith – who hasn’t been lights out for Atlanta at all this season – struggled to win this game. He gave up a solo home run to Anthony Santander who had already homered off of Smyly today. His home run made it a 5-4 game. That made it an uncomfortable lead for the Atlanta Braves, but thankfully Smith was able to limit the damage and preserve a one nothing lead to allow the Braves to win 5-4.

Game Three: Touki Toussaint vs. John Means, Braves won 3-1

Touki Toussaint pitched a good game for the Braves. He went 5.1 innings, allowed five hits, one run, three walks, and he had five strikeouts. The one run he allowed came in the fourth inning, but other than that he was lights out. I really feel like Toussaint could’ve pitched a complete six innings. After he had already gotten one out, he gave up a single. Brian Snitker took him out of the game. This is something that continues to bother me. I feel like Snitker should give his starting pitchers a chance in a situation like that instead of just taking them out.

The Braves scored all of their runs in the fourth inning. The first one came on a solo home run by Jorge Soler to make it 1-0. Freddie Freeman doubled and after Riley struck out, Dansby Swanson walked. Adam Duvall had a two-RBI double top score both freeman and Swanson to make it a 3-0 game.

The Orioles scored their one and only run in the bottom of the fourth, but other than that they couldn’t conjure up any more offense. That allowed the Braves to win 3-1. This series was their third series sweep in a row, and their ninth game in a row. Wow!

Braves vs. Marlins Series Wrap

Woohoo, another sweep! The Braves are on a roll. Yes, they have been playing some “easier” teams, but they are winning nonetheless, and that it what’s important this time of year.

Game One: Touki Toussaint vs. Braxton Garrett, Braves won 12-2

This was another offensive outburst for the Atlanta Braves. They scored seven of their runs in the fourth inning.

Touki Toussaint pitched very well. He went 6.1 innings and allowed three hits, two runs, two walks, and he had seven strikeouts. He never really got into any trouble over his 6 plus innings. Brian Snitker took Touki out of the game after he gave up a walk in the top of the seventh. I feel like, with the huge lead the Braves had, Snitker could’ve/should’ve let Toussaint continue, but that didn’t happen.

The Braves started this game with a very good chance to score. Ozzie Albies, Jorge Soler, and Freddie Freeman all reached base with walks. To make the first out, Austin Riley struck out, and then Dansby Swanson had an RBI force-out that scored Ozzie and made it a 1-0 Braves lead.

However, that 1-0 lead did not last long. On the first pitch Touki Toussaint threw, Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a solo home run, making it a 1-1 game. Miami took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when Isan Diaz hit a solo home run making it 2-1.

Atlanta didn’t allow the Marlins’ lead to last very long. In the top of the fourth inning, Guillermo Heredia and Toussaint reached base on walks. After the Marlins’ starting pitcher walked Touki, they went to their bullpen. That didn’t do them much good. My man, Ozzie made it a 2-2 game. He hit an RBI single that scored Heredia. Jorge Soler struck out making the first out of the inning. Freeman hit a three-run bomb. That broke the scoreless tie, making it a 5-2 game with the Braves on top. To keep the inning alive, Austin Riley had a double. Swanson scored him with an RBI single making it 6-2. Dansby advanced to second base on a passed ball. And then, to add the final blow of the inning, Adam Duvall hit an absolute laser shot to left field. It went SO FAR that it dented the windows at the back of left field. If the windows were open that ball would’ve left the ballpark…and who knows where it would have landed! His home run made it an 8-2 game.

In the top of sixth inning, the Braves once again added onto their lead. Duvall started the inning with a one-pitch flyout to make out number one. Travis d’Arnaud and Hereida reached base via walks. Toussaint did his job and got a sac bunt down to advanced both runners. Ozzie was up to bat. He hit a two-RBI single, making it a 10-2 game. And then, to score the final two runs of the game, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two-RBI double in the top of the seventh inning. That made it a 12-2 game.

The Braves were given a total of eleven bases on balls in this game. They took advantage of all of them…and it paid off!

Game Two: Huascar Ynoa vs. Sandy Alcantara, Braves won 2-0

Welcome back Huascar Ynoa! This was his first start in a major league game since May 31st when he broke his right hand – his pitching hand – punching the dugout bench. Huascar pitched 5.1 innings. He allowed only three hits, ZERO runs, one walk, and he had four strikeouts. Overall it was a great first outing for him coming off the injured list!

This was a pitchers’ duel. There was hardly any contact…and the Braves didn’t score their first run until the eighth inning.

In the top of the eighth inning, Stephen Vogt led off with a strikeout. Abraham Almonte walked, and then Ozzie struck out to make the second out of the inning, and Almonte stole second. He then advanced to third on a passed ball. So with a runner on third and two outs, Soler was up to bat. He hit an RBI single that got the Braves on the board, making it a 1-0 game.

Atlanta needed a little more “cushion” with their lead, and Austin Riley provided that. In the top of the ninth inning he hit a towering solo shot to make it a 2-0 game.

Will Smith came on to preserve the save. He actually did his job this time, and had a 1-2-3 shutdown inning. That allowed the Braves to win the game!

Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. Jesús Luzardo, Braves won 11-9

Charlie Morton pitched well for Atlanta once again. He went six innings, allowed three hits, two runs, only one walk, and struck out nine Miami batters. His command was good, and he was able to limit the Marlins to only two runs, and was able to keep them from any further damage.

Coming into the fourth inning, it was a scoreless tie. However, the Braves put an end to that! Freddie Freeman led of the inning with a triple. On the next pitch, Austin Riley had an RBI single that made it a 1-0 game. Dansby Swanson followed Riley with a single. With two on and no one out, Travis d’Arnaud walked to load the bases. Adam Duvall walked with the bases loaded, making it a 2-0 game. Guillermo Hereida also walked with the bases loaded, making it a 3-0 game. To make the first out, Charlie Morton struck out. My man, Ozzie Albies hit a sac fly to make the Braves lead 4-0. His sac fly made the second out, and then Jorge Soler had a strikeout to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth inning, Adam Duvall had an RBI double that scored Freeman, who reached base earlier that inning on a single. That made it a 5-0 game.

The Marlins got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. They scored two runs making it a 5-2 game.

To add onto our lead, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run home run for the Braves making it a 7-2 game in the top of the sixth. Wait, hold up. Freeman had a double in the first inning, a triple, a single, and now a home run… ahhh it’s a cycle! Freddie Freeman hit the second cycle of his Braves career. Woohoo!

Brian Anderson made it a 7-3 game in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI groundout.

Top of the eighth inning: Ozzie Albies led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. He stole second base, and then Ozzie advanced to third on a fly out by Jorge Soler. His fly out made the first out of the inning. Freeman was intentionally walked, and then Austin Riley hit a first-pitch RBI single. His single scored Ozzie and made it a 8-3 game. Dansby Swanson then walked and loaded the bases. Travis d’Arnaud and Adam Duvall both walked with the bases loaded to make it a 10-3 game. Heredia popped out to make the second out, and then Joc Pederson also walked with the bases loaded to score the final Atlanta run, making it an 11-3 game.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Marlins made this game too close for comfort. A.J. Minter started the inning for Atlanta. He gave up a double to the first batter he saw, and a single to the second one he faced. Bryan De La Cruz hit a sac fly to make it an 11-4 game. The Braves conceded the run for an out. Miguel Rojas grounded out to make out number two. Jazz Chisholm had an RBI single to made it an 11-5 game. Jesus Aguilar hit a two-RBI single to make it an 11-7 game. Will Smith came on in relief of not only Minter, but also Josh Tomlin. Josh came on in relief of A.J. but he couldn’t get more than one out. Jesus Sanchez hit a two run homer to make it a 11-9 game off of Smith, but he was able to limit anymore damage and sent the Braves off happy.

This was an eventful series for the Atlanta Braves. They had some huge hits and are getting back to 100%. With Ynoa and Travis back now, and Ian Anderson nearing his return, the Braves are looking even better to secure a spot in the postseason.