Braves vs. Red Sox Series Wrap

Injuries have shown to be quite a problem for the Braves. They are now without Marcell Ozuna, who fractured two fingers on his left hand while sliding into third base in game one of this series. The Braves say it will take around six weeks for him to be able to come back and play. Ozuna may not have the strongest arm in the outfield, but he has big-time power at the plate that has been a huge bonus for the Braves in the lineup with him hitting behind Freddie Freeman. Braves’ manager, Brain Snitker, will now have to adjust his lineup in order to fill Ozuna’s gap while he is unable to play.

Game One: Charlie Morton vs. Garrett Richards, Braves won 3-1

Charlie Morton pitched extremely well for the Braves. He got off to a shaky start in the first inning, but was able to calm down, and pitch a gem for the rest of the game. Morton went seven innings, he allowed only three hits, one run, two walks, and he had nine strikeouts… nine! Charlie started off slow with Atlanta, but he seems to have gotten into his groove and has been giving the Braves good quality starts.

The Red Sox kept their 1-0 lead until the top of the third inning. William Contreras started off the inning with a walk, which was followed by a lineout of Acuña. Freddie Freeman came on with one out and had a first pitch single. Marcell Ozuna followed Freeman with an RBI single to tie the game at 1 apiece. Ozzie Albies followed Ozuna’s single with a fielders choice that scored Freeman giving the Braves the lead at 2-1. Marcell Ozuna was tagged out at third base to make the second out of the inning and that slide also led to his injury that I mentioned earlier. It’s going to be a huge difference not having him in the Braves lineup… especially since Ozuna was starting to look like the Marcell Ozuna the Braves had in the 2020 season.

The Braves scored their third and final run on an RBI double by Ronald Acuña Jr in the top of the sixth inning. Pablo Sandoval was the baserunner who scored for the Braves; he had reached base on a single. That run made it 3-1 Braves. It was good to see the Braves score without hitting a home run. The Braves lead ALL of Major League baseball in home runs. They have hit a grand total of 80… so far!

Game Two: Drew Smyly vs. Nick Pivetta, Braves lost 9-5

Rain delay games are never fun. I’m sure for players it’s hard to keep their momentum after having to be contained inside for a long period of time.

Drew Smyly started off pitching well for the Braves, giving up only three runs through the first five innings he had pitched. But he fell apart in the sixth inning. He lost his command and had baserunners everywhere. Then Luke Jackson was brought on in relief and he had a mess to get out of and eventually couldn’t.

The Braves started the scoring with a RBI triple by my man, Ozzie Albies, which gave the Braves a 1-0 lead, and then Dansby Swanson scored him on an RBI double to make it 2-0 after the top of the first. The Braves scored again in the top of the second on a sac fly by William Contreras to make it 3-o Braves. And then, in the top of the fifth inning, Austin Riley hit a solo home run making it 4-3 Braves on top.

After the Red Sox blew it open in the bottom the sixth inning and the rain delay, it was a 7-4 game, Sox on top. The Red Sox added onto their lead again in the bottom of the eighth inning on an error by Swanson that allowed a runner to score, and a sac fly that allowed another Red Sox runner to score, extending their lead to 9-4.

The Braves got one run closer on a solo home run by William Contreras in the top of the ninth to make it 9-5, but it ultimately wasn’t enough and the Red Sox held on for the win and a split series.

The Braves need some help… and they need it as soon as possible! Their starting pitching has improved quite a bit, but the bullpen still has some problems to be fixed. Hopefully when Shane Greene is ready to come up from Triple-A Gwinnett, that will add more stability in the bullpen. However, injuries are killing us. Injuries will happen, but the Braves have been hit with a ton of injuries that hurt a lot and have a long recovery time. Surely they will figure out something soon and get into a good groove!

Braves vs. Blue Jays Series Wrap

The Blue Jays were said to be a very good team this year, and the Braves got to witness that first hand in their two series’ against them, in which they were swept both times. Pitching has still proven to be an issue for this Braves team. The starting rotation has improved and now that Max Fried is back they are starting to stabilize it, but the bullpen has continued to be the problem. However, now that Chris Martin is back on the active roster and the Braves re-signed Shane Greene to a one year deal, the Braves’ bullpen will hopefully gain some stability soon.

Game One: Bryse Wilson vs. Robbie Ray, Braves lost 5-3

It’s games like this one (and the rest of the games in this series) that are tough to swallow. The Braves started the game off great. Bryse Wilson struck out the side to start off the game. He pitched very well for the Braves in his last-minute outing. He pitched six inning, with six hits and he only gave up two runs. He had five strikeouts and no walks… NO WALKS. That is huge! Walks will always come back to haunt a pitcher, and Wilson had such good control over the baseball he didn’t walk a single batter.

The Braves scored first and early against Jays pitcher Robbie Ray. Ronald Acuña Jr. lead off the game with a first pitch single, Freeman walked, and then after a strikeout of Marcell Ozuna, Ozzie Albies (my man) had a RBI single to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. They scored again on a solo home run by Acuña in the bottom of the third.

Things looked good for the Braves until Toronto made a game of it in the top of the sixth inning on a gigantic two-run homer by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. That home run tied the game, 2-2 and took a win opportunity away from Wilson. However, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Marcell Ozuna hit an absolute BOMB to left center field to give the Braves the lead again.

Okay, now here’s where things got frustrating. Top of the eighth inning, the Braves still had the lead. A.J. Minter was on to pitch for the Braves. He gave up a lead off double to Johnathan Davis, the first batter he saw and then it went downhill from there. Next batter: Minter gets Marcus Semien to get a ball on the ground. Minter fielded the ball but he didn’t throw it to first… or second, right away at least. He looked at the runner back at second, like you should do, and started to throw it to first and then didn’t, so he threw it to second. By that time it was too late to get either player out, even after review. After that, he saw Bo Bichette and he got a single off of Minter. The Blue Jays didn’t score but played their base runners base to base. Keep in mind that A.J. Minter doesn’t have an out yet. Then, on the first pitch he saw, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a single to tie the game at 3 a piece and for the Blue Jays to still have bases loaded, with no one out. After that disappointing outing out of Minter, the Braves brought Jacob Webb on to pitch. Webb gets Toescar Hernandez to hit a soft tapper to Freddie Freeman who was playing in a shift. That SHOULD have been an easy out except one problem… Webb didn’t go cover first base. What was he thinking?!? Instead of running to go cover first base and get an out without another Toronto run scoring, he squatted down at the side of the mound. No one else could’ve covered first and Freddie couldn’t run to the first base bag in time, so Hernandez was safe and another run scored making it 4-3 Blue Jays. They also still had the bases loaded, with no one out. Webb struck out the next batter he saw, and then gave up a bases loaded walk to Cavan Biggio to make it a 5-3 game. The walk that Jacob Webb gave up, on four straight pitches, was the ONLY walk that the Braves pitching staff gave up that game. The only one!

The Braves made a little bit of a threat in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough to allow them to score, or win.

Game Two: Max Fried vs. Hyun Jin Ryu, Braves lost 4-1

This was definitely an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel through the first five innings for both teams starters. Max Fried was excellent for the Braves in this outing. He went six innings with two hits, he allowed one run, had three walks, and four strikeouts. Yes, his walks and strikeouts are close in number, but he had very good command and was able to get lots of groundouts.

In a pitchers duel, one team is bound to score and the Braves scored first. In the bottom of the fifth inning, William Contreras hit an absolute missile into the seats in left center field to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. He crushed that baseball. It sound loud, it looked loud, and it went far. His home run went a total of 463 feet. 463 feet, that’s a ton! However, it didn’t take the Blue Jays long to tie the game.

Now it was up to the Braves’ bullpen to keep the game tied at one and allow the Braves’ offense to score. That did not happen. Luke Jackson came on to pitch the seventh inning, and the first pitch he threw, Teoscar Hernandez hit way out to center field. That made it a 2-1 game, Blue Jays on top. Jackson did not give up another run and he left the game within reach for the Braves, but in the top of the ninth inning, Josh Tomlin blew that chance. On the first pitch he threw he gave up a single to Bo Bichette, and then after a line out of Guerrero Jr., Tomlin gave up the final blow. A two-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez that gave the Blue Jays a 4-1 lead. That was the final score of the game, and it hurt.

Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. Ross Stripling, Braves lost 8-4

Once again the Braves started this game out great. Offense was good, so was their starting pitching. But the bullpen blew it again. Charlie Morton pitched much better than his previous outing before this one. He went 4.2 innings, he gave up seven hits, three runs, and only two walks. He also had four strikeouts.

The Braves started their game offensively with a huge bang. On the FIRST PITCH he saw, Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a bomb to the Hank Aaron Terrace in left field at Truist Park. It was a no-doubter as soon as it hit the bat. After his home run, Freddie Freeman singled, Marcell Ozuna lined out, and then Ozzie Albies had a bloop single that advanced Freeman to third. Ehire Adrianza, who started the day at third for the Braves, had a RBI single to score Freddie. That, with the Acuña homer, gave the Braves a 2-0 lead going into the second.

The Blue Jays scored one in the top of the second on a RBI double by Jonathan Davis, and they scored two in the top of the fifth inning to give them the lead at 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Dansby Swanson hit a two-run home run to left field to give the Braves the lead again at 4-3. It was good to see him start to show a little more life at the plate given he has been in a little bit of a hitting slump.

The Braves had a huge scare in the bottom of the seventh inning. After they had already lost Christian Pache in the bottom of the second inning on Pache tweaking something in his hammy running to first base, they definitely did not need this. Ronald Acuña Jr. is batting for the Braves, he hits a ground ball to Blue Jays third baseman and Acuña is running as fast as he can to first base. When he gets to the bag he apparently missed the bad and then landed on his left ankle funny, immediately falling to the ground in pain. He had to leave the game. After the game and Acuña having gotten x-rays, there are no broken bones, thankfully, or anything seriously wrong with his ankle.

Even after the Braves had gotten the lead back, the Blue Jays weren’t giving up easily. In the top of the eighth inning, Cavan Biggio had a RBI double to score Teoscar Hernandez and tie the game at four. Then, in the top of the ninth inning, the Braves bullpen, once again, blew an opportunity for the Braves to come back and win the game.

Will Smith was pitching for the Braves to try and get them into the ninth still tied. He very much failed to do so. He gave up a lead off single to Danny Jansen and then another single to Marcus Semien and then a double on the first pitch to Bo Bichette, which scored Jansen and Semien to give the Blue Jays a 6-4 lead. Smith got a one pitch line out out of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and then he gave up yet another single, this time to Teoscar Hernandez. After that, Biggio had a double which scored Bichette, advanced Hernandez to third, and extended the Jays’ lead. Will Smith was taken out of the game. He had a very disappointing outing. Jesse Biddle came on to pitch after Smith and he got a sac fly out of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. which scored another Toronto run. That was the final run they scored making it an 8-4 Blue Jays victory.

The bullpen is a MAJOR issue for the Braves right now, and until it’s fixed, it will be hard for the Braves to win games. The bullpen needs to do its job of A: protecting a Braves’ lead, or B: keeping the game close and in reach for the Braves to come back and win. In game three of this series, Sean Newcomb and Chris Martin came out of the bullpen and both pitched 1-2-3 innings for the Braves which was a good sign. And Jacob Webb pitched 1.1 scoreless innings for the Braves. Hopefully those guys can come out of the bullpen and give the Braves the needed stability on the mound in the late innings.

Braves vs. Nationals Series Wrap

A sweep! The Braves swept the Nationals!! Man, it was good to see a series where the Braves looked more like the Atlanta team that we are used to. The pitching was much better, they were good offensively through the entire lineup, even the pitchers spot, and the bullpen was able to come into the game with a lead and keep it.

Game One: Huascar Ynoa vs. Joe Ross, Braves won 6-1

What a game. If you weren’t a “fan” of Ynoa before this game, I can almost guarantee you are now! In this game, Ynoa’s performance on the mound was, once again, very impressive. He had great command over his pitch count and his balls to strikes ratio — pretty much everything we have come to expect out of him, he came through. The first four innings of the game was what looked like to be the making of a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel. That all changed when Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the fifth to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. After his homer, the Braves offense was just getting started. In the top of the sixth inning, after a line-out of Ozuna, my man, Ozzie Albies got on base with a one-out single. After his single, the Nationals went to their bullpen. Tanner Rainey was now on the mound for them. He started off great with a one pitch line-out of Austin Riley. However, things went downhill for him from there. With two outs, Dansby Swanson was intentionally walked, and then William Contreras had an RBI single to score Ozzie Albies and gave the Braves a 2-0 lead. After that, Christian Pache reached base on a walk. Two outs. Bases loaded. And Huascar Ynoa is at the plate. Can you guess what happened?!? On the second pitch he saw, Ynoa hit a GRAND SLAM to straight away center. A GRAND SLAM! Can you believe it?? Our pitcher hit a grand slam!! Honestly, I’m still in shock. That grand slam was his first career grand slam and his second home run in his very young career. Oh, not to mention his two homers have come in back to back games. He continued in the game for another two innings and only gave up one Nationals run on a RBI ground out to Kyle Schwarber. The Braves held on to win, 6-1!

Game Two: Max Fried vs. Eric Fedde, Braves won 5-3

Max Fried is finally back! And in this start he looked much more like the Max Fried we are accustomed to. He went five innings giving up only four hits and one run, and he struck out six Nationals hitters and only allowed one walk. Hopefully, Fried can keep this streak up.

The Braves bats are *finally* starting to come to life! In the top of the third inning, Contreras lead off with a single. Then after two straight outs, Acuña and Freeman both walked. Bases loaded, two outs. Marcell Ozuna was up to bat and he went long ball!! He hit a grand slam to right field to give the Braes a 4-0 lead early agains the Nationals again. Man, the Braves really have something working right now. That was their second grand slam in back to back games and the FOURTH one hit all season. William Contreras also got in on the home run fun in this game, when he hit his first career homer in the top of the fourth inning. It was a long solo-shot to center field to make it a 5-0 Braves lead. In the bottom of the fourth the Nationals scored one on a solo home run by Yan Gomes to make it a 5-1 game. That score remained until the bottom of the eight inning when Trea Turner hit a two run home run off of Josh Tomlin to make it a 5-3 game late. However, A.J. Minter came in to get the two remaining outs of the eighth inning, and he did his job without giving up another run. Will Smith came on to pitch the ninth inning for the Braves. He did his job perfectly. Three up, three down. He even got Juan Soto to ground out, which was nice to see considering Soto had a walk-off against him earlier in the season.

Game Three: Drew Smyly vs. John Lester, Braves

This was the start from Drew Smyly that all of Braves country, the Braves coaching staff, and I’m sure Smyly himself were all waiting for. He pitched six innings of four hit, one run ball. He also limited the walks in this game; he only had four, which is still quite a few but he had less than normal and he pitched more innings. He was doing so well, he actually made it into the seventh inning, but Snitker took him out after he walked the first batter he saw that inning. It made me mad that Snitker took him out. I mean, yeah he walked the first batter he faced that inning, but I think he was too quick to take him out of the game. He could at least let him stay in and at try and get through the inning. This seems to be Snitker’s MO right now, and it can be frustrating.

Anyways, the Braves won, and that’s all that really matters. The Braves did not hit a home run in this game but went back to a sense of “old school” baseball. They scored all three of their runs in the third inning. One on a RBI double by Marcell Ozuna that scored Acuña, and the other two came on a two-RBI single by Ehire Adrianza that scored my man, Ozzie and Ozuna. The Nationals scored one in the bottom of the fourth on a double by Kyle Schwarber that scored Josh Bell. They didn’t score another run until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Yan Gomes had a RBI single to make the game 3-2. The Braves bullpen held onto the lead, and the Braves completed the sweep of the Washington Nationals!

One thing to note about the third game of this series is: Freddie Freeman was not in the lineup. I’m sure Snitker was just giving him the day off to “regain himself” since he hasn’t been doing very well at the plate lately. He has also already made two errors this season which is unlike him. However, I’m sure he will be back to the good old MVP Freddie Freeman we have all gotten used too soon.