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!!

Coming in Hot: Braves Sweep the Mets!

Game 1 of the 3-game series

What a series! If you like high-intensity, every-pitch-counts-baseball, then this was your series. Coming into this series against the Mets, all of Braves country was nervous. I mean, it’s not every day that you have to sweep your biggest Division rivals in order to have a good shot at clinching the division and having possession of a winning record against them in case there were to be a tiebreaker. It was a tall order for the Braves – especially against a good team like the Mets – but our Bravos did not disappoint!

GAME ONE: Max Fried vs. Jacob DeGrom; Braves win 5-2

I was so sure this game was going to be a pitching duel. A low scoring, old fashioned pitchers duel…I was wrong. While both Fried and DeGrom had their shutdown innings and pitched like aces, Atlanta’s offense ended up scoring five runs — three of them off of DeGrom. The Mets scored two runs in total and only one off of Max Fried. Fried pitched very well, but he had to leave after the 5th inning with only 71 pitches because he began to throw up in the dugout and it was later announced that he had the stomach bug. For Max to have pitched the five top-notch innings that he did while being sick is just amazing. Talk about putting your team above yourself.

Offensively for the Braves, they were home run driven. Austin Riley and Matt Olson had back-to-back solo shots in the bottom of the second inning which put the Braves up 2-1. And then, in the bottom of the 6th, Dansby Swanson hit a solo home run to give the Braves a 3-1 lead. All three of those home runs came off of Jacob DeGrom, but Dansby’s was much more meaningful. It was his 100th home run of his career, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The bullpen for Atlanta, like we have grown so accustomed to, got the job done. A.J. Minter allowed a nerve-wrecking solo home run to Tomas Nido in the top of the 8th, but that was it. In the top of the 9th inning, Kenley Jansen gave ALL of Braves Country a huge scare. Being there in person was unlike any stress I’ve ever known. The crowd was groaning, cheering, sighing, and cheering again. Kenley loaded the bases with only one out. But somehow, someway, Kenley got out of it without a single run scoring and gave the Braves game one of the series with a 5-2 win.

GAME TWO: Kyle Wright vs. Max Scherzer; Braves win 4-2

Kyle Wright got off to a rocky start but was able to come back and secure the win for Atlanta. When he’s on his A-game, Wright gets a lot of groundouts, and after the first inning, that is what he got. He went 5 innings, allowed 7 hits, 2 runs, one walk, and had three strikeouts. So overall, it wasn’t a bad outing. The bullpen was able to keep the Mets at bay and prevent any further damage for the rest of the game. And, Kenley Jansen pitched a stress-free 1-2-3 inning.

Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson once again brought the power for the Braves. Swanson hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 5th inning, and in the bottom of the 6th inning, Olson went yard to give the braves a 4-2 lead.

This game showed what the Atlanta Braves bullpen can do. There were SO many chances for the Mets to score, yet they could not make contact with anything the Braves relievers were throwing. And when they did make contact, Atlanta’s superb defense was there to make the play — hello, Michael Harris II!! This was an overall good game for Atlanta that started out scary and ended with a Braves’ victory.

GAME THREE: Charlie Morton vs. Chris Bassitt; Braves win 5-3

Talk about a great way to end the series. Dansby Swanson led off the game with a bang: an opposite field solo shot in the bottom of the first to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. This was his third home run in as many games. He hit a home run off of all three Mets starters: Jacob DeGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt.

The Mets beat up on Charlie Morton a little bit, scoring three runs off of him in 4.1 innings. But they couldn’t come up with anymore run support.

In the bottom of the third inning, the Braves’ bats came to life once again, except this time it wasn’t via the home run ball. With the bases loaded and two outs, Matt Olson walked to score a run, and then Travis d’Arnaud had a two-run single to give the Braves a 4-3 lead. Then as if Dansby hitting a home run in all three games wasn’t cool enough, Matt Olson decided to do it, too. He hit a towering solo home run in the bottom of the 6th inning to give the Braves a 5-3 lead.

And that 5-3 lead was all the Atlanta bullpen needed. Kenley Jansen came in for the third straight game and was lights out! This awesome showing allowed the Braves to win their 100th game, sweep the Mets, win the head-to-head series with the Mets, and give the Braves a 2.0 game lead in the division. Talk about a productive win. 🙂

The Atlanta Braves magic number to win the division is now one, and they are set to play a three game series against the Marlins in Miami starting tonight to finish out the regular season. I have all confidence in what the Braves are capable of and are excited to see them play in the postseason!

GO BRAVES!!

Braves Have Been Playing Great Baseball, but it Has Come With Yet Another Devastating Blow:

Coming off a long road trip to the West Coast, you could tell that the Atlanta Braves were ready to be back home in front of their home crowd. Counting last night’s win against the Nationals, Atlanta has won nine home games in a row.

The Braves played some of their best baseball in this past series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Part of that was due to the LONG awaited return of second baseman and fan-favorite, Ozzie Albies. He had been out for three months with a fractured foot, and he returned to the lineup on Friday, September 16th. He was received very happily by his teammates and the fans at Truist Park gave him a standing ovation. And when he had his two out, two-run double the fans went crazy. It was great to have Ozzie back. He truly makes the team complete. He provides the energy they need to win ballgames.

However, ill fate was awaiting Ozzie. On Saturday, September 17, in just his second game back, Ozzie Albies was advancing to second base on a fly-out by Eddie Rosario. He slid into second base hands first, and after he slid he stayed hunched over the base. Then and there, all of Braves Country felt a pit form in their stomach, and after watching the replay, things didn’t look good. Ozzie stayed in that inning and ran the bases, but once he got into the dugout he immediately went into the clubhouse to get his hand checked out. Ozzie Albies will miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured right pinky finger. This news is devastating. After all that hard work he did recovering from a fractured foot, he fractured his finger less than two days after returning to send him back to the IL. I’m not entirely sure how his finger got fractured. To me, it looked like Phillies second baseman, Jean Segura might have stepped on Ozzie’s finger by accident, or Ozzie slid into his foot. Either way, it’s a heartbreaking situation. But hopefully, Ozzie will remain in the dugout and cheer on his teammates from there, although he would much rather be on the field playing the game he loves.

Atlanta’s offense has hit a spark since they came home. 1-9 each batter was coming through in one situation or another. Even Matt Olson broke out of his hitless streak and recorded two hits last night. And Ronald Acuña Jr. looked like his old self against the Phillies. He hit a home run in back to back games and played superb defense.

Pitching for the Braves has looked much better, too. The starting rotation did well, making the pitches they need to and kept the Phillies scoreless most of the time. Even relief pitching was lights-out. Collin McHugh pitched well – even pitching two innings in the same game. And Kenley Jansen, who we have seen struggle of late, has come in as closer and been lights-out. He hasn’t gotten into any trouble and hasn’t walked anyone. Hopefully he’s figured out what his problem was and made the necessary changes.

The Atlanta braves are a very fun team to watch. They are currently 1.0 game out of first place in the National League East, and are playing fantastic baseball. If they can keep this up, they have a real shot at beating the Mets in the Eastern division. And when the Mets come to town next week, Truist park is going to be rocking. It is going to be some serious competition and hopefully the Braves will come out on top!

GO BRAVES!!

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!

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!

My Atlanta Braves Lineup Predictions

With Opening day just a couple of weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about lineups, rotations, and rosters. The Atlanta Braves are going to have a very fun lineup this year. It will start without Ronald Acuña Jr. given that he is still healing from a torn ACL, but once he is completely healthy and ready to play it is going to be a SOLID lineup. But hey…we won a World Series without Acuña, so I think we can manage without him until he is healthy enough to play. 😉

LINEUP WITHOUT ACUÑA:

  1. Eddie Rosario (Left Field)
  2. Ozzie Albies (Second Base)
  3. Matt Olson (First Base)
  4. Austin Riley (Third Base)
  5. Marcell Ozuna (Designated Hitter)
  6. Dansby Swanson (Shortstop)
  7. Adam Duvall (Right Field)
  8. Travis d’Arnaud (Catcher)
  9. Guillermo Heredia (Center Field)

Having the lineup like this makes sense to me. Eddie Rosario has proven to us that he can get on base. In the 2021 postseason, he was hitting singles, doubles, triples, home runs, and drawing walks… everything that you would want a lead-off hitter to do. To be a lead-off hitter, you don’t have to have crazy power and hit a homer with every swing. You just need to be able to get on base so the players behind you can drive you in and score runs for your team.

LINEUP WITH ACUÑA:

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. (Right Field)
  2. Ozzie Albies (Second Base)
  3. Matt Olson (First Base)
  4. Austin Riley (Third Base)
  5. Marcell Ozuna (Designated Hitter)
  6. Eddie Rosario (Left Field)
  7. Travis d’Arnaud (Catcher)
  8. Dansby Swanson (Shortstop)
  9. Adam Duvall (Center Field)

We pretty much already know that once Acuña is back, he will probably be hitting lead-off. My opinion, however, is this: with Acuña’s homer-heavy power, wouldn’t it make sense for him to hit clean-up? I think Ronald Acuña Jr. would make such a good clean-up hitter. If he had Eddie Rosario, Ozzie Albies, and Matt Olson in front of him in the lineup, and then he was hitting fourth, he would have the opportunity to drive in so many runners. Not only would that give him a ton of RBI’s, it would also give the Braves more runs on the board and potentially lead to more wins. Although this seems like such a solid idea, I don’t think Acuña would give up hitting first. He likes hitting first and getting those first-pitch, attention-grabbing home runs. Sometimes I feel he needs a reminder that the game and the lineup isn’t about him…ahem. Maybe his time on the injured-list will remind him that baseball is about getting wins for your team, getting to the postseason, and having another shot at winning the World Series.

NOTE:

I have stacked up the bottom of each lineup differently. All of those players (Rosario, d’Arnaud, Swanson, and Duvall – plus Heredia) are very good. They can hit anywhere in the lineup, which is why I have placed them differently in each one. Looking at both lineups next to each other, they are both very deep and none of those players are considered an easy out.

This is going to be a very exciting season for the Atlanta Braves and I cannot wait to see how it all plays out!

GO BRAVES!