Braves vs. Dodgers Series Wrap

It’s not every day that the Atlanta Braves take two out of three games in a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are the reigning World Series Champions. It’s always great to see the Braves beat such a good team like the Dodgers, but it was also great to see that Atlanta’s offense was able to hit and score off of two very good, well-known pitchers in games two and three of this series. The Braves’ bullpen pitching was SO MUCH better in games two and three… they started to look more like the Braves bullpen we are used too. The Braves lineup was electric in this series! The ENITRE lineup was able to get on base, score runs and keep that flowing. Overall it was a great series for the Braves in so many ways… maybe facing a “harder” team like the Dodgers was just what the doctor ordered for them!

Game One: Ian Anderson vs. Julio Urías, Braves lost 9-5

The main problem for the Braves in this games was walks. Walks will always, ALWAYS come back to haunt a pitcher. The Braves pitching staff gave up a total of eight walks in this game. Two of them were with the bases loaded, so runners scored.

Freddie Freeman started the game off with a BANG for the Braves! He had been in a major slump, walking more than he was hitting, and taking last minute swing on balls in the dirt at the plate. He hit a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the first inning to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.

Overall Ian Anderson did not have a bad start for the Braves, he just got into some fifth inning trouble which allowed LA to score and got Anderson out of the game. He pitched 4.1 innings, gave up one hit, four runs, and three walks. Ian also struck out six Dodger batters.

Following Ian Anderson, Sean Newcomb came on to pitch. He did not do well. He only retired one LA batter and gave up three runs. He didn’t give up any hits, because all of the runs he allowed came via walks. Grant Dayton came on and got the final out of the fifth inning for the Braves, but it didn’t do too much good because the Dodgers had already scored EIGHT runs on only three hits to make the score 8-1.

Like the Braves broadcaster Chip Carey says about the Braves , “They may not always win, but they always give you a finish.” That statement was very true for this game.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ender Inciarte led off with a single, which was followed by a four pitch walk to Ronald Acuña Jr. Freddie Freeman made the first out of the inning on a forceout which advanced Ender to third, but got Acuña out at second and left Freddie on first. Then, on the first pitch he saw, my man Ozzie Albies split the gap in center field for an two-RBI double and made the score 8-3. Ozzie has had so many of these doubles in the past couple of series for the Braves… he’s just that good! 😉 Austin Riley followed Ozzie’s double with a single and then after Pablo Sandoval struck out, Ehire Adrianza reached on a two base error that allowed both Ozzie and Riley to score, making it 8-5 Dodgers still on top.

The Dodgers scored one more run in the top of the ninth inning on a wild pitch by Tyler Matzek to make the final score of the game 9-5 Dodgers.

Game Two: Charlie Morton vs. Clayton Kershaw, Braves won 6-4

For Charlie Morton, this start started off sketchy. In the top of the first inning, after he hit Mookie Betts, Justin Turner reached base on an error by Austin Riley. Cody Bellinger advanced Betts on a force-out and then he scored on a pick-off error by Charlie Morton when he attempted to catch Bellinger too far off of first base. After that first inning he gave up three more runs, allowed one walk, four hits and had five strikeouts over a total of five innings. This wasn’t his best start, but did better than I expected he would after how his outing started.

The Braves took full advantage of Kershaw and it paid off. In the bottom of the third inning, Guillermo Heredia started the inning with a single. He was followed with two quick outs: one by the Braves catcher Kevin Smith, and the other by Charlie Morton. Acuña kept the inning alive with a rare walk from Clayton Kershaw. Freddie Freeman tied the game with an RBI single that scored Heredia, making it a 1-1 game. My man, Ozzie Albies extended the Braves lead with a two-RBI double giving the Braves the lead at 3-1. Dansby Swanson hit the final blow of that inning with another two-RBI double off Kershaw to make it 5-1 Braves!

The Dodgers made a game of it when they scored three right back in the top of the fourth making it a 5-4 game. That score was too close for comfort, and the Braves knew that. Abraham Almonte gave Atlanta a little more breathing room when he hit his first home run as a Brave in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was a solo shot, but when you’re in a close game against a good team like the Dodgers, every run you can get is huge. That homer gave the Braves a lead of 6-4.

The Braves’ bullpen was able to continue to hold the lead and carry them to a win to tie the series a one game a piece.

Game Three: Max Fried vs. Trevor Bauer, Braves won 4-2

It’s not every day a team scores a bunch of runs off of a well-known pitcher like Kershaw, but it’s even better when your team can go and beat two good pitchers in back to back games to win the series.

Max Fried pitched quite well for the Braves. He went six innings, gave up six hits but only allowed one run, had ZERO walks and four strikeouts. Fried had good control over the baseball and his balls-to-strikes ratio was great. He did work a few deep counts but nothing like he normally does.

The Braves started off the scoring in the bottom of the second on an RBI double by Abraham Almonte that scored Dansby Swanson and gave them a 1-0 lead. They extended their lead in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI double by Ozzie Albies that scored Freddie Freeman, making it 2-0.

The Dodgers scored one in the top of the fourth, which was the only run Fried gave them to make it 2-1 Braves still on top.

Once again, the Braves extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Ender Inciarte and they scored again in the bottom of the eighth inning on a sac fly by Inciarte to make it 4-1 Braves.

The Dodgers got one run closer in the top of the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough and the Braves held on to the win and won the series against their National League rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sorry for the late re-cap. I was out of town without cell service for the past 6 days.

Braves vs. Mets Series Wrap

Well, this wasn’t much of a series. With games one a three both postponed due to weather conditions, it turned into a one game series. The New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves will have two makeup games in different doubleheaders. One will be on June 21st and the other on July 26th.

Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Taijuan Walker, Braves lost 13-2

For only one game to be played in this series, this is definitely not how anyone in Braves country wanted to go.

Ian Anderson did not have his best stuff. His balls-to-strikes ratio was good, the Mets were just able to hit his pitches. He didn’t always hit his spots, which left his pitches out over the plate. Anderson pitched only four complete innings. He started the fifth inning, but could not retire a batter. He allowed seven hits and four runs. He did have six strikeouts and only one walk, which proves that his pitch ratio was good. In the end, the Mets offense just took advantage of him.

The Braves offense was very quiet. Unlike the Mets against Ian Anderson, the Braves could not hit off of Walker let alone much against their bullpen. The Braves scored one run in the top of the sixth inning on a wild pitch which scored Guillermo Heredia. The other was scored in the top of the eighth inning on an RBI single by my man Ozzie Albies! Those two runs were the only runs scored by the Atlanta Braves in this game.

Ian Anderson may have had a frustrating start, but the final blow was ultimately surrendered by the Braves bullpen. Atlanta’s bullpen gave up a combined total of six hits, two walks, and five runs. Three of those hits were home runs. Honestly, the Braves bullpen is hit or miss. Some nights they come out and pitch very well like we’re used too. Other nights they do not have good stuff at all, and give up too many runs. They need to find balance and to be able to come out of the bullpen, in a close game, and not allow any traffic on the bases, runs, or high stress pitches. If they can do that, they will have much more success out of the bullpen!

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.

My First Baseball Game(s)

With Spring Training offcially here and the start of the season not too far off in the distance, I thought I’d share my first baseball games!

My first game was on August 2, 2019, against the Cincinnati Reds. It was Hank Aaron Weekend, so the Braves players were wearing jerseys that looked like the ones from the 1970s. Kevin Gausman was the pitcher for the Braves, and Alex Wood was the pitcher for the Reds. Dansby Swanson was still out with his right heel injury. Even though the Braves lost 5-2 and Gausman gave up a two-run homer in the first inning, I got to witnnes TWO Atlanta home runs! One from Austin Riley in the fith inning and the other from Ronald Acuña Jr. in the sixth. Ronald Acuña Jr.’s home run went 463 feet! I will never forget how long Acuña’s homerun went! 🙂 Acuña also made his amazing catch from center field – he ran 56 feet and dove in mid air to cach the ball! It was so cool to watch!

Now the second game I went to…

I got the tickets for my 13th birthday from my Nana! They were to the game on August 30th, 2019, against the Chicago White Sox. It was also Freddie Freeman’s Funko Pop night! Max Fried was the pitcher for the Braves, and Iván Nova was the pitcher for the White Sox. Dansby Swanson was back! He was one for four with a single. He was also hit by a pitch in the third. The Braves, even though they cut it close, won 10-7! Max Fried had a spectacular preformance despite struggling a little in the the seventh inning. He struck out eleven White Sox hitters, and he had a single in the second! Ozzie Albies had a four hit night (two singles and two doubles), and Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homerun in the second inning! I will admit, I did get a little nervous when the White Sox got within a run in the seventh inning. 🙂 But we survived and scored four more times!

Both games were on Fridays, so, not only was it Friday night Red-Out, it was also a night for fireworks! The Braves stadium has some spectacular fireworks! Not only are the HUGE, they are synchronized to music. The first game I went to they were synchronized to Stevie Wonder, and the second game they were hooked up to Calvin Harris.

I will never forget my experiences to the Braves games, and I hope to go to many more!

Thanks for reading!