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!

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!!

Braves vs Mets Series Wrap:

Well, this series didn’t go as well as it could have, but on the bright side, at least the Braves avoided a sweep. Coming into this series, Atlanta was 1.5 games out of first, leaving the series with a 2-1 split (the Mets winning two games) the Braves are now 2.5 games out of first place.

This series was very postseason-like. Sellout crowds every game, the atmosphere was loud, and the fans were into everything that was happening.

GAME ONE: Braves lost 4-1

This was certainly a pitchers duel…Max Fried for Atlanta vs Max Scherzer for New York. We all knew coming into this game it was going to be a battle of the pitchers. Unfortunately, it was Max Scherzer who came out on top. Fried didn’t really have his A-game stuff in this outing. He threw way too many pitches and didn’t seem to have any command of the strike zone. He gave up two runs over five innings, and he threw 99 pitches which is unusually high for him.

Offensively for the Braves, it just wasn’t there either. Their only run came on a solo home run by Austin Riley. They had multiple chances to score but were unable to bring the runners home. I believe that is ultimately what led to their loss – leaving good opportunities to score out to dry.

GAME TWO: Braves won 4-1

This game was much more like the Braves. They scored when they needed to score and pitching was much better. Spencer Strider pitched 4.2 innings and allowed only one run. He did not get the win, however, because the Braves did not score until the 6th inning.

Atlanta’s four runs came on a two-run homer by Matt Olson in the 6th and a two-run homer by Adam Duvall in the 7th. The Braves relied heavily on the home run ball in this game (they did in the whole series). In this game, at least it paid off!

GAME THREE: Braves lost 7-3

This game echoed game one of this series. Charlie Morton did not have his best stuff and threw 107 pitches just to get through five innings. He gave up five runs on six hits and three walks. The run support was also lacking for Charlie.

Atlanta scored three runs on three solo home runs. One by Matt Olson, one by Austin Riley, and the other by Eddie Rosario. The Braves couldn’t get hits with runners on base, but could hit home runs with no one on. If they could have just hit with runners on base, they would have had a better chance to win.

It will be exciting and nerve wracking at times to see how things play out between the Braves and Mets. But hey, games like these between two very good teams are very entertaining and exciting to watch!!

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!

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!

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 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!

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.