My Thoughts on the Braves vs. Mets Series:

I think it’s safe to say this series was disappointing, somewhat maddening, and even embarrassing. The Mets beat up on us in the four out of five games we lost, and even in the game we won, it got too close for comfort. Not to mention, when we would score, our bullpen couldn’t maintain that smaller run differential, and we would end up losing. These five games had a very tense, postseason-like atmosphere. Coming into this series we were 2.5 games out of first, now we are 6.5 games out of first. That is terrible. Let’s just hope, when we play the Mets next, August 15th-18th (at home) the Braves will do much better than this unfortunate series in New York.

STARTING PITCHING:

Our starters got pummeled in this series. NONE of them got a win in these 5 games. Out of Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Jake Odorizzi, Max Fried, and Spencer Strider, Ian Anderson was the only one who could have qualified for a win, but he couldn’t get through five innings. What was the most frustrating was that our pitchers would make good pitches, then the Mets hitters would make measly contact with them and get rewarded with an infield hit. The New York Mets get the most infield grounders for hits than any other team I have ever seen. Another thing that plagued our starters was the fact that they gave up too many walks. We were basically giving the Mets opportunities to score and they came through almost every single time.

RELIEF PITCHING:

Our bullpen was said to be the best bullpen in the MLB. But in this series, it definitely did not look the part. Even our bullpen’s best, A.J. Minter, Dylan Lee, and Tyler Matzek, struggled against the Mets. The bullpen struggled with inherited runners, they allowed WAY too many of those to score, they struggled with walks, and they failed to get the third out of an inning. Our relievers could come in and get the first two outs just fine, but then they got into trouble while trying to secure the third out. That was very frustrating to watch, and I’m sure it was even more frustrating for the Braves players and staff.

OFFENSIVELY:

Atlanta gave up too many situations in which they could have scored. They had first and third or second and third or even the bases loaded with one out in different situations, but almost every single time they could not come through and score. In game four, we had no problem scoring. Finally, the Braves hitters looked liked themselves in the batters box. But aside from that single game, we were swinging at pitches in the dirt and taking wimpy swings. Then we would get a burst of energy in the 9th inning, but we were either too far out of the game to make a comeback or we couldn’t get enough run support through.

The Mets are the Braves biggest competitor. We have seven games, all at home, left to play against them. These games are going to make or break us. This time last year our record was 55-55. We are currently at 64-46, so anything is possible. We cannot give up hope yet!

For the Braves, RHP Kirby Yates has been doing rehab games and is expected to return soon. And Ozzie Albies, Atlanta’s sparkplug, has been doing light baseball activity and his return is said to be around late August to mid September. So hopefully, with these two coming back soon for the Atlanta Braves, it will give us the boost we need with 52 games left to play!

GO BRAVES!!

My Thoughts on Braves vs Dodgers Series:

Coming into this series, I knew it was going to be an emotional one for Braves country and for Freddie Freeman. Freddie made his first appearance to Truist Park this year… but in a Dodgers uniform. He was presented with a very touching video to express Atlanta’s appreciation for him, and then he was given his World Series ring. I’ve always known Freddie was an emotional person, but I wasn’t truly aware how emotional he was. During his pre-game interviews he couldn’t contain the sobs, and walking onto the field to get his ring he was red and shaking from emotion.

Although the Braves did not win the series, it was honestly nice to get it over with. And the atmosphere of the games were very much like the postseason. It was definitely a glimpse into the 2022 Postseason if you ask me. 😉

The Atlanta Braves played good ballgames throughout this entire series, but in their losses, leaving runners on base was ultimately their downfall.

In game one, the L.A. Dodgers started off with a bang, scoring two runs in the first against Ian Anderson, and then scoring two more in the fifth. The Braves were unable to score more than one run in a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the sixth. Looking back on this loss, the sixth inning was where the Braves should have scored. They had a great opportunity but were just unable to take advantage of it.

Game two was exciting! The Braves started out scoring early, giving Max Fried a 3-0 lead after five innings. However, Fried got into trouble in the seventh allowing two Dodger runners to score making it a 3-2 game. And then, in the eighth inning, A.J. Minter gave up the tying run on a homer by L.A.’s catcher Will Smith making it a 3-3 game. That tied game didn’t last long though! In the bottom of the eighth inning, Travis d’Arnaud led off the inning with a double, and then Marcell Ozuna followed him with a gigantic home run, making it a 5-3 game. That was all the Braves needed to hold onto the lead and win game two.

It was really nice to see Ozuna get the big home run in game two. He has been seriously slumping at the plate…but hopefully he is coming out of this slump and will provide some pop in the Atlanta lineup.

Game three was frustrating and honestly disappointing. The Braves should have won. Atlanta faced the Dodger’s best pitcher; Tony Gonsolin who came into this game 9-0 on the year. He left the series without a blemish on his record. The Braves were able to score one run on Gonsolin in the sixth and another against Alex Vesia in the seventh. Then, in the ninth inning, the Dodgers tied the game 2-2 against former Dodger, Kenley Jansen. The game went into extra innings.

In the top of the tenth inning, Freddie Freeman had an RBI double down the right field line to give L.A. a 3-2 lead. But, in the bottom of that inning, Matt Olson had an RBI single down the right field line to tie the game back up at 3 apiece.

Darren O’Day pitched the eleventh for Atlanta and he did not do well. He gave up two runs and was not able to finish the inning. The Braves lost that game with final score of Dodgers 5, Braves 3.

Not only were there some rollercoaster type games in this series, but it was an emotional rollercoaster for Freddie Freeman and Braves Country. Freddie Freeman may no longer be an Atlanta Brave, but he will never be forgotten. Now, the Braves have a new (and very good) first baseman in Matt Olson. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out for the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angelas Dodgers, but I think it’s safe for both teams to say, “See you in October!”

GO BRAVES!

Eleven in a Row! And Three Sweeps!!

Wow! This has been an amazing run for the Atlanta Braves. Yes, they got off to a slow start this season, and it seemed like they couldn’t get things going on a consistent basis, but now, they are untouchable. Everything is clicking on all cylinders where and when it needs too! With these eleven wins in a row, they have moved from 10 games out of first to now only 5.5 games out of first, behind the New York Mets.

Some may scoff and say that they have swept three teams who aren’t considered the best, but sometimes it has been hard for Atlanta to win against the “easier” teams. They proved in this series that they are still the World Series-caliber team that they were last year.

There were SO MANY positives that came from these eleven games, here are some that stood out to me:

SOLID STARTING PITCHING:

In order to win ballgames, your starting pitchers need to go deep into them. Some of the Braves starters have struggled with pitching deep into games earlier in the season. However, over the past week and a half, they were looking very sharp. Even Charlie Morton, who still has not gotten back to the Charlie Morton we saw last season, pitched 6 innings on Saturday. He did not get the win, but it was nice to see him pitch deeper than four or five innings; plus he had 12 strikeouts over those 6 innings.

The three starting performances that stood out were:

  • Max Fried’s 8 scoreless innings pitched on June 3 against the Colorado Rockies. Everything was going for Fried that night. He was untouchable! In those eight scoreless innings, he only allowed two hits, one walk, and he only had four strikeouts. He was dominant on the mound and got those ground ball outs that he’s known for getting. It was a shame he didn’t get the win. (In this game the Braves and Rockies went into extras with a scoreless tie.)
  • Kyle Wright’s 8 innings against the Oakland Athletics on June seventh. In those eight innings, Wright only allowed five hits, two runs, zero walks, and had seven strikeouts. He showed a lot of dominance on the mound and proved that he can pitch late into ballgames and have the same amount of sharpness (if not more) than he started the game with. Kyle Wright is a good young pitcher, and the Braves are lucky to have him.
  • Spencer Striders scoreless performance on June tenth against the Pittsburg Pirates. For Spencer Strider to have started the season in the bullpen, he is a great starter. He can throw 101 MPH and make it look easy as can be. He has a great slider and a really good fastball. He has come through huge for the Braves and has made a good impact in the starting rotation. In this start against the Pirates, he pitched 5.2 innings, allowed four hits, zero runs, one walk, and he had eight strikeouts. Overall it was a very good performance.

RELIEF PITCHING:

Alongside the Braves starting pitching, the relief core has been lights-out as well. They have kept us in close ball games and preserved late inning leads when they mattered most. Kenley Jansen, who at first made us all nervous every time he came out to pitch, has finally found his groove and is closing games like we saw him close for the Dodgers. No drama, he just comes in and gets the job done.

Will Smith is the same way. He started off the season very similarly to how he did last year where he got into a lot of high-stress situations. But Today (June 12th), he came into the game against the Pirates in the seventh inning and shut down the side while only throwing nine pitches. Hopefully he, along with everyone else in the bullpen, can keep up the good work.

CONSISTANT HITTING:

Getting hits, timely ones at that, was often time hard to come by for the Braves’ hitters early on in the season. But in these past eleven games, it’s been hard to get them out!! Lately, Atlanta has found all kinds of ways to get on base — hit, walk, hit-by-pitch, error, etc. But all that matters is they are getting on base and scoring!

In these eleven games, the Atlanta offense hit 22 home runs. Two of which were grand slams…one was by Braves’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud and the other by second baseman Ozzie Albies. d’Arnaud’s came on Thursday, June 2nd in Colorado when the Braves won 13-6, and Ozzie’s came against the Pirates on Saturday when they won 10-4. In the final game of the series against the Pittsburg Pirates, Adam Duvall, who had been struggling a little at the plate, hit two home runs. One he pulled, and the other he smoked to opposite field in the Chop House. Both were huge, and it was so good to see him hit the ball out of the ballpark again…he definitely needed it!

This Atlanta Braves hitting core has been SO fun to watch! They have been so active on the base-pads, and you can see it in how they play. Their faces show that they are enjoying playing ball just as much- if not more- than us fans who are watching them!

MICHAEL HARRIS JR.:

This kid!!! He has impressed me and the Braves organization on so many levels. For him to have skipped Triple-A and come straight from Double-A to the Majors is remarkable. But, you can see why the Braves brought him up when they did. He is HOT right now. Not to mention Harris Jr. is a very good outfielder! He has made multiple plays in center field that have left me in awe of how he even got to the baseball, let alone make the catch. Harris has definitely bolstered the outfield and the bottom of the lineup. All in all, he has been a great addition to this red-hot Atlanta Braves team.

It has been so enjoyable to finally see all of the Braves’ handwork pay off and for them to start playing like we know they are very capable of doing. Hopefully they can keep it up as they head to Washington D.C. to play the Nationals tomorrow!

Always and forever, GO BRAVES!

My Takeaways From Braves vs Rockies Series:

A sweep! This was Atlanta’s first sweep of the season, and boy did the Braves need it! Not only did this series give them their first sweep, it allowed them to have a five game win streak (the Braves won their last game in Arizona before heading to Colorado), and the Atlanta Braves now have an over .500 record of 28-27. This series has proven that the Braves are capable of being the good, strong team we know them to be. Hopefully, it will prove to be a good turnaround to get them going in the right direction.

MY TAKEAWAYS:

  • IMPROVEMENT IN THE ROTATION AND BULLPEN

All of the Atlanta starters in this series pitched very well. Max Fried especially had an outstanding performance. He pitched eight scoreless innings, allowed only two hits, one walk, he had four strikeouts, and ended his night with 102 pitches. Fried never seemed like he was uncomfortable on the mound and he showed much dominance throughout his performance.

The Braves bullpen has been questionable, to say the least, throughout the start of the season. However, in this series they were quite good. The Atlanta Braves won two games in extra innings… TWO! One of those games was scoreless until they scored in the 10th inning. And in another one of the games, the Braves didn’t capture the lead until the 11th inning. With Matzek on the IL, it was a known fact that people were going to have to start stepping up in the bullpen…and they have finally started to come through! Although he still has a flare for the dramatic, Will Smith has pitched pretty well, and Kenley Jansen is showing he can be that super-star closer that he was with the Dodgers.

  • CONSISTENCY IN THE LINEUP

At the start of the season, the Braves had a hard time getting runners on base. And when they got runners on base, they had an even harder time scoring them. It also seemed that they relied on a couple guys in the lineup to get on base, score, etc. However, all that has started to change. 1-9 in the Braves lineup came through in this series. Every player contributed in one way or another. They took their walks when they needed to, moved runners over, scored multiple times throughout an inning, and scored in multiple innings.

It was also nice to see Travis d’Arnaud and Adam Duvall get some good hits. Travis hit two home runs in the first game of the series, one of which was a Grand Slam!! He also continued to get hits of any kind. Duvall hit a home run in this series but he also had some doubles, singles, and a triple! It was nice to see Adam Duvall reduce his amount of strikeouts over these four games. Yes, everyone is bound to strike out, but he seemed to do it an awful lot. But in this series he showed much improvement in his pitch selection and how deep he allowed his counts.

The Atlanta Braves are currently 8.5 games behind the first place Mets, but with how the Braves have been playing lately, hopefully they will move closer in the standings and continue to win ball games at their full capacity.

GO BRAVES!

Takeaways From Braves vs Mets Series:

The Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets split their four game series. Although this is not the best outcome, it certainly isn’t the worst. Atlanta came into this series six games back and in fourth place. They left the series six games back and in third place. So, although they moved up a place in the standings, they didn’t gain any significant ground on the first place Mets. The Braves showed some improvement, and some struggles in the same areas.

THE POSITIVE:

  • When the Braves won, their offense was clicking. All throughout the lineup in games one and four (the games they won), the Braves players were getting on base and scoring. In game four, everyone in Atlanta’s lineup reached base, and they scored seven of their nine runs without hitting a home run. That was huge for this Atlanta offense who can rely so heavily on the home run ball. It was also good to see the Braves score runs with two outs. That is something they have struggled with this season. If they can come up clutch in those moments more often…it is going to get them a lot farther this early in the season.
  • Max Fried and Ian Anderson pitched so well in their starts. In game one, Fried pitched six innings, allowed four hits, two runs, zero walks, and he had six strikeouts. It was very good to see him come off of two good back-to-back starts. Hopefully, he has found his groove and is once again becoming the dominant ace we know him to be. In game four, Anderson pitched 5.1 innings, allowed five hits, one run, four walks, and one strikeout. He also ended the day with 84 pitches, which for Ian, is very good. It was very nice to see these two show some dominance on the mound and come through when they need it.
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. — He is back for the Braves, and looks healthy! He is not playing every day as they are trying to ease him back in…but he has shown that he isn’t afraid to slide into second base, third base, or home plate. He already has two stolen bases! It has been good to see him back in the lineup and on the field.

THE NEGATIVE:

  • Charlie Morton. I don’t know what his problem is, but Morton has had his fair share of struggles on the mound. To me, he just doesn’t look comfortable. We know the pitches he is capable of making and the numbers he can produce, but right now, he just can seem to get his pitches how he wants them. He is hanging his off-speed pitches, and the opposing batters aren’t missing them. Hopefully, Charlie Morton will get everything under control (and soon) because the Braves need him in their starting rotation! They need dominant Charlie Morton so they can win more than two games in a row!!
  • The Braves have shown what they are capable of…they just can’t seem to keep it up multiple games in a row. It seems like when they win, they win by a lot and everything is clicking. And when they lose, they lose by a lot, and things don’t seem like they are working. It is safe to say they look like two different teams sometimes. Consistency is what I believe they need to work on the most

Hopefully our World Series Champion Atlanta Braves will figure things out within this next home stand and play like we know they can!!

GO BRAVES!

Takeaways From Braves’ First Road Trip:

After all the World Series celebrations came to a close, the Braves took their first road trip of the season. It was against two very good teams: the San Diego Padres and the Los Angelas Dodgers. Obviously, the most anxiously awaited series was the Braves and Dodgers because Atlanta would see Freddie Freeman for the first time in a different jersey. Watching the games, you could definitely tell there were emotions from both sides, but at the end of the day it’s baseball and things like this happen. Freddie Freeman hit two home runs against the Braves, and we got to feel the impact of having him on another team… he is definitely one tough batter to get out!

Atlanta split the series with the Padres 2-2 and lost the series 2-1 against the Dodgers. The Braves showed some improvement in areas, but they still need to figure out consistent hitting and get the starting rotation completely under control.

MY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Ian Anderson and Max Fried both showed significant improvement in their second starts. Ian pitched 5.2 innings, only allowed 2 hits, one run, had one walk, seven strikeouts, and he threw 89 pitches. This was an amazing bounce-back from his first outing. He was dominate on the mound and seemed much more comfortable out there.
  • Same goes for Max Fried. He looked completely different on the mound compared to his previous starts. He pitched seven SCORELESS innings, allowed only two hits, zero walks, and had seven strikeouts! His command of all his pitches was so much better and he looked more comfortable on the mound and was in control of the baseball, being able make his pitches and get the ball on the ground. It was very nice to see him AND Ian Anderson pitch like we know they are capable of doing!
  • Charle Morton. He did SO well in his first start of the season, but he got beat up big time on this road trip. Once by the Padres and by the Dodgers. It looks like he doesn’t have command of his pitches right now, and he’s trying to re-figure them out. Last season we got so used to the ace Charlie Morton, but if you remember… at the start of the last season he didn’t pitch fantastic. So maybe it just takes him some time to fully regain his mound presence and pitches.
  • The Atlanta Braves are a very powerful team and we know for a FACT that they can hit…they just can’t seem to get consecutive hits right now!!! Matt Olson is the only Braves player who can seem to get on base multiple at-bats in a row. Ozzie Albies has started to break through, he hit four home runs on the road trip and had multiple base hits, but other than him and Olson, everyone else is hit-or-miss (literally). The Braves can’t seem to get more than two wins in a row either, and now that pitching is starting to come together more…it’s going to be up to the offense to come through.

You might be saying to yourself, “The Braves have hit a lot of home runs this year…so why don’t they have a better record than 6-8?” Well, that’s because 15 out of the 16 home runs the Atlanta hitters have hit have been solo shots. The only home run hit with baserunners was a 2-run shot on opening day by Austin Riley. Other than that, the Braves are having a hard time hitting these home runs with people on base. And trust me, they have had plenty of times to score more runners, but in those moments, we seem to either strike out or hit into a double play.

I’d say the Braves biggest priority is hitting with runners on base. You can’t win ballgames without scoring, and it’s going to take more than a couple solo home runs to win a baseball game. All the teams in and out of the National League East have gotten better this year, and it is going to be a long ride if Atlanta can’t figure their hitting situation out.

Although they still have some things to work out, I’m sure it won’t be too too long until they start being the Atlanta Braves team we are so used to seeing!

GO BRAVES!!

My Takeaways From Opening Day Weekend:

Let’s Play Ball!

This was a great Opening Day Weekend, especially for the Atlanta Braves! They got to start the season at home, which included even more World Series events: the pennant unveiling, the award ceremony, and of course, the World Series Ring presentation. The Braves and the Cincinnati Reds split the four-game series 2-2. Overall it was a good weekend, but like anything, there are still a few questions to be answered and things to be worked on.

THE POSITIVES:

  • Charlie Morton pitched very well in his return from fracturing his leg last year in Game One of the World Series. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowed only two hits, two runs, one walk, and he had five strikeouts. He also threw a total of 78 pitches. It was very good to see Morton come back the way he did. It was as if he didn’t miss a beat. He was still the same old calm, cool, and collective Charlie Morton out there on the mound. Him being in the rotation is something the Braves are going to need.
  • Kyle Wright had an impressive start. There have been a lot of questions regarding the Braves starting rotation, but I believe Wright showed that he is capable of being the fourth man in the rotation. He threw six scoreless innings, only allowing two hits and one walk. He also struck out six Reds batters. Overall he had a very impressive start, and proved he can be something that the Braves can use.
  • Matt Olson really came into his role as a Brave in this series. With it being Opening Day Weekend, I’m sure he had some nerves coming into the first game. Not only with him being the first new first baseman that the Braves fanbase had seen in over 10 years, but also that he was playing in his hometown – FOR his hometown. It’s safe to say he is fitting in very well. In 14 at-bats, Olson has had eight hits, one of which was a home run, and he walked three times. He has also made some very nice plays at first base.

THE NEGATIVES:

  • Although Charlie Morton and Kyle Wright pitched well in their appearances, Max Fried and Ian Anderson didn’t do so well. On Opening Day, Fried was the starter. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowed eight hits, five runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. These are not the figures we are used to seeing from Max Fried. He pitched a good first inning, but after that, it was like he lost control of the baseball and couldn’t find his release point. And then, when he finally found it, the Cincinnati hitter were all over that baseball.
  • Ian Anderson was a similar story. He threw only 2.2 innings, allowed three hits, five runs, five walks, had only one strikeout, and he threw 74 pitches. 74 pitches in 2.2 innings is NOT what you want from a starting pitcher. For his first outing, he had no command of the strike zone, he couldn’t hit his spots, and ended up with more walks than hits. Anderson has good stuff, he just throws too many balls, and that is what gets him in trouble. To me, what he needs to work on this season is having a better command of the strike zone, and limiting the amount of pitches he throws.
  • Hitting. Something we know the Atlanta Braves can do very well. But, for whatever reason, they cannot seem to get many hits together so far this season. Yes, they’ll get multiple hits a game, but they are never with runners on base. Last season, the Braves were SO good at scoring with two outs. So far this season that has not been the case. Maybe they are just on an all-time high right now with all the World Series festivities, but sooner or later they are going to have to start coming through in run-scoring opportunities.

With all this to be said, the Atlanta Braves are still a very good team with very good potential this season. Once they get everything going, they are going to be very hard to stop!

2021 World Series Champs

GO BRAVES!

THE ATLANTA BRAVES: WORLD SERIES CHAMPS!!!

Ahh. This is really happening!!! The Atlanta Braves, despite all the doubters, injuries, and rough times they went through, are the 2021 World Series Champions. It definitely did not come easily for the Braves, but the fight they went through every single game, to get to where they were and to be World Champs, makes this end result even sweeter.

Think about it. The Atlanta Braves were under .500 until after the All-Star Break. They learned they weren’t getting Soroka back, they lost Acuña to a torn ACL, lost Marcell Ozuna due to legal matters, and had Travis d’Arnaud and Huascar Ynoa on the injured list for who knew how long. Did the Braves take that punch in the gut as a defeat? Absolutely not.

Atlanta played even better, stronger, more determined baseball than they had in a long time. Not to mention, the Braves front office went and gained Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, and Eddie Rosario to rebuild their outfield and their offense. I cannot say it enough: EVERY SINGLE ONE of those guys came through in a HUGE way for the Braves. Not only during the second half of the regular season, but into and throughout the postseason. From Joc Pederson coming up clutch in the NLDS, Eddie Rosario being the NLCS MVP, Adam Duvall’s great defense and grand slam, to Jorge Soler’s power – earning him the World Series MVP – they all provided exactly what the Braves needed and so much more.

Two Key Factors From the World Series For the Braves:

  • Relief Pitching:

This Braves relief staff played a HUGE role in this postseason, and, especially, in the World Series. The only Atlanta starter to go more than five innings, was Max Fried in game six. That was the last game they played! That means the bullpen had to cover a lot of middle innings. And those bullpen arms did a fantastic job. Tyler Matzek most notably was very impressive. In the World Series he pitched over five innings, only allowed one run, six hits and ZERO walks. Those are some impressive numbers! Will Smith was also great for the Braves in the World Series. Smith pitched eleven innings, and had an ERA of ZERO. ZERO!! He was lights out for the Braves and that is exactly what Brian Snitker needed out of him. Overall the whole bullpen was good for Atlanta, but these two really stepped up and it played a huge role for the Braves.

  • Offensive Rallies:

Throughout the 2021 regular season, we would see over and over again the struggles the Atlanta Braves would have trying to get runners in scoring position and actually scoring them. But, as it came October and into the postseason things started clicking for the Braves’ offense. Yes, in the NLDS and into the NLCS, and even some in the World Series, they still had some trouble scoring. However, it was no where near like the troubles they had back in the regular season. The Atlanta Braves scored a total of 25 runs in the World Series. Not to mention, they hit eleven home runs. So yes, we can say that offensively they were quite put together.

In the end, all of that bullpen pitching and offensive spark led the Braves to a World Series title. But what helped the most to get them there was determination. Knowing how good of a team they are and feeding off of that energy. They chose not to let all of the bad that had happened and the discouraging stats get into their head. They played every game like it was their last, and it paid off tremendously.

Can’t wait for next season!

Atlanta Braves forever and ever!

Go Ozzie! #1

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!