Braves vs Blue Jays Series Wrap

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Well, the Blue Jays have been a good team so far this year, and they proved it with a series sweep against the Braves. Injuries have continued to be a very concerning problem for Atlanta. Not to mention the starting rotation needs to become more consistent — along with the bullpen. Hopefully, when Fried and Soroka return (crossing my fingers that it’s sooner than later), the rotation problems will dwindle down. Injuries, we all know, will happen. The Braves have just had an extremely high amount for the first month of the season.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Robbie Ray, Braves lost 13-5

After hitting a ton against the Cubs, the Braves bats were not as lively in this game. Smyly’s pitching problems continued in this game. He has a tough time controlling the strike zone and giving up multiple long balls. In just four innings of work, he pitched into the fifth inning but could not retire a Blue Jay batter. He gave up seven hits, six runs, and three home runs. He threw a total of 84 pitches in those few innings of work. Only 46 of them were strikes. His command so far has proven to be his biggest problem along with getting batters out after he gets them to two strikes. The Braves did have a home run of their own. That was courtesy of my man, Ozzie Albies! He hit an absolute bomb in the top of the seventh inning to left center. It went a total of 424 feet and gave the game a score of Toronto 10, Braves 2. The Blue Jays however, kept scoring. Their bats were hot and stayed hot throughout the entire game (and series). They scored three more after Ozzie’s home run, and the Braves scored three more in the top of the eighth on RBI singles to bring the final score of the game to 13-5 with the Blue Jays on top.

Game Two: Charlie Morton vs. Blue Jays Bullpen, Braves lost 6-5

If you told me that Christian Pache would hit a grand slam in his first at-bat in his first game back after being on the injured list, I don’t think I would’ve believed you. But guess what, he did it! After three straight Braves singles to load the bases in the top of the second inning, with two outs, Pache came up to the plate and gave the Braves a huge second inning lead of 4-0. This was Pache’s first career grand slam, and it left the field in left center. That was a very exciting way for him to return and for the Braves to start the game!

But of course…Pitching, pitching, and pitching. That is something the Braves need to figure out. Morton has been the consistent guy on the mound for most of the season for Atlanta. Today wasn’t awful for him, but he wasn’t as “on top” of his game like we have gotten used to seeing. He gave up five runs in 5.1 innings of work. He didn’t qualify for a win, or ultimately the loss. In the top of the fifth inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. went long-ball again with an absolute missile over the left field wall. Man, this kid’s got some serious power!

Injuries. The Braves have gotten hit with the injury bug big time in the early days of the 2021 season. They had another one in this game, and it happened to Braves catcher, Travis d’Arnaud. In the bottom of the sixth inning, on a bad base running play by the Blue Jays’ center fielder, Randal Grichuk, he was thrown out at home plate on a relay throw from Marcell Ozuna to Dansby Swanson to d’Arnaud at the plate. Something happened to Travis’ thumb on his catching hand when he tagged out Grichuk at the plate. Obvioulsy that isn’t good for someone who has to catch 150+ baseballs almost every single day. He was taken out of the game and is now on the Braves 60-day IL with a torn thumb ligament. What a loss! Game 2 remained tied, so it went into extra innings. So far this season, the Braves have not done well in extra-inning games. They have only won one, and that didn’t come in this game. It was the bottom of the tenth inning, game is tied 5-5, and Nate Jones was on to pitch for the Braves. He started out well, retiring the first batter he saw and then, after an intentional walk to Vlad Guerrero Jr., he got a force out. Two men out, one more to get. But that didn’t happen. The next batter he faced, Randal Grichuk, had an RBI, game winning single. The Blue Jays won 6-5.

Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Ryan Borucki, Braves lost 7-2

Ugh. Another Braves loss. Once again, the Braves started out looking like the game was going to go in their favor. William Contreras started off the second inning for the Braves with an RBI single, which scored my man Ozzie Albies, who reached base on a double. That 1-0 lead didn’t last long. The Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the second, and they kept scoring from there. Anderson only went four innings. He gave up six hits, four runs, and three walks. Then it was up to the Braves’ bullpen. In the top of the fifth inning, Acuña hit a sac fly to score the second (and final) Braves run of the game.

Sometimes it just gets down-right hard to come up with something to say when you have to talk about a Braves loss. Again. On paper everything looks great for Atlanta. They have a good lineup, there’s no doubt about that. The main problems are 1) the Braves players can’t stay consistent in the positive. You will have some games where the whole lineup can’t stop hitting, and the others where they can hardly make any contact with the ball at all. 2) They have had too many injuries, and some of them are coming back to bite big time. And 3) Pitching. Pitching is a HUGE component of any baseball game, and if your starters can’t go at least five to six innings, that puts a ton of pressure on your bullpen and requires more work from them. The pitching is what is showing to be the biggest problem for the Braves. Hopefully, once Max Fried comes back, it will add more depth to the rotation and the Braves will start wining games more consistently.

Braves vs Marlins Series Wrap

Braves country, put it this way, we may not have won the series versus Miami, but at least we didn’t get swept. And we can thank Dansby Swanson for that! The main thing that led the Braves to lose three out of four of this series was the bullpen. The bullpen gave up multiple late inning runs in every game versus Miami, and that cost the Braves big time.

Game One: Huascar Ynoa vs. Sandy Alcantara, Braves lost 5-3

Ynoa pitched very well. He went six innings, only giving up one run on three hits. He had one walk and struck out ten. The Braves actually scored before Miami on a RBI single in the top of the first that scored Ronald Acuña Jr. The Braves scored two more runs after that on sac-flies by Ozzie Albies. The bullpen was not at its best in this game. A.J. Minter and Nate Jones gave up two runs in the top of the eighth inning, and then Jacob Webb blew the game and the save in the top of the tenth inning, giving up a single and a double. Those two runs led the Marlins to win.

Game Two: Max Fried vs. Pablo López, Braves lost 14-8

The Braves started this game off with some excitement. Freddie Freeman doubled, and then Marcell Ozuna hit a two run blast. Note that Brian Snitker changed the lineup to where Freeman was hitting second, Ozuna batting third, and Ozzie Albies batting fifth. Speaking of Albies, he got in the home run fun too, hitting a solo shot in the first to give the Braves a grand total of three runs scored in the first inning. However, that lead did not last long. Brain Anderson led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run for the Marlins, and they scored two more after that. Fried is really having a hard time controlling the strike zone and commanding his pitches. He pitched a total of four innings. He gave up nine hits, eight runs, and two walks. He only had three strikeouts. The Braves had to go to their shaky bullpen for the rest of the game, and they had a rough outing once again. The Marlins ended up scoring a grand total of fourteen runs. Fourteen. And do you know who scored/drove in most of those runs? That would be former Brave, Adam Duvall. He had four hits, scored four times, and had seven RBI’s. Oh, and he hit two home runs. The Braves did score two more on an error by Duvall in the bottom of the ninth, bringing their run total to eight. Overall, this game was a stinging blow to the Braves and their fans. It was almost too hard to watch.

Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. Nick Neidert, Braves lost 6-5

Another extra innings game, another Braves loss. Morton wasn’t at his best today. He went six innings, with seven hits and allowed five runs. Ronald Acuña Jr. hit two more home runs today. One in the third inning and the other in the seventh. Both were two run shots. With his two run homer in the seventh, the Braves tied the game. The game remained tied and went into extras. In the top of the tenth inning, the Marlins scored on a double by Jesus Aguilar. They held onto their late inning lead and won. Acuña gave the Braves multiple chances to score, but the bullpen could not keep the Marlins bats inactive, so it didn’t matter.

Game Four: Ian Anderson vs. Trevor Rodgers, Braves win 7-6

If you were looking for a close nail-biter for game four of this series, you got it. This was a good game, with an even better end result. The Marlins once again scored early on the Braves. They got a three-nothing lead on the Braves, all runs were scored off of Ian Anderson. The Braves made it a 3-2 game in the bottom of the fifth inning on another home run by (can ya guess?) Ronald Acuña Jr. This kid has continued to show huge amounts of consistent power in this series against the Marlins. And then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, with two Braves on base, two out, Pablo Sandoval is at-bat. And he does it again! He crushes a three-run homer to give the Braves a 5-3 lead. Man this guy has serious power off the bench. He is turning into a huge asset for the Braves! I think if Austin Riley can’t improve offensively, the Braves will let Sandoval play more games at third base since that is his natural position. Starling Marte hit a solo home run for the Marlins in the top of the seventh to make it a 5-4 game.

Top of the ninth inning, A.J. Minter is on the mound for the Braves to try and earn the save and a Braves win. Instead of sealing the win, he blew the save. He allowed to Marlins to cross the plate. One on a double by Adam Duvall and the other on a single by Garrett Cooper that scored Duvall. Man, the Braves bullpen is having serious problems keeping a lead. That has to change if the Braves want to win games and ultimately clinch the division and be successful in the postseason.

Bottom of the ninth inning. Dylan Floro is on the mound for the Marlins to try and get them into extras so they can have a shot at winning the game and sweeping the Braves. The Braves had other ideas. Ender Inciarte leads off the inning with a single. Acuña does the same thing, and Ender moves to second. No body is out, and Freddie Freeman is up to hit. He ends up walking to load the bases, still there is no one out. Travis d’Arnaud strikes out and then my man, Ozzie Albies, gets walked with the bases loaded and the tying run comes in to score. And then…Dansby Swanson is up to bat. On the first pitch he sees, he lines it into left field, the Braves walk it off and win!!

Hopefully the walk-off will give the Braves more momentum going into the series with the Chicago Cubs and they will start to liven up more and win more ball games.

Braves Home Opener vs. Phillies Series Wrap

Nothing is better than Braves baseball. Well, except maybe Braves baseball at home and with fans. This series was a fun nail-biter for the Braves to open up the season with.

Game one: Charlie Morton vs. Zach Wheeler, Braves win 8-1

Nothing better than a Braves win, with fans, for their home opener. Let me just tell you, having 14,000 fans in the stadium after not having any for such a long time, makes it sound like a sell-out crowd with 45,00+ screaming at the top of their lungs. Charlie Morton pitched very well in his second appearance as a Brave. He pitched six innings, had four hits, surrendered one run, and had seven strikeouts. He also impressed at the plate with an opposite field single. The Braves went long ball in this game. Acuña hit an absolute BOMB in the fifth inning, Ehire Adrianza hit a three-run shot off the bench in the bottom of the sixth, and Freddie Freeman finished the night out right with a home run. Every one of those homers gave the fans something to scream about, not to mention they enjoyed booing Harper every time he was up to bat! This was a great game and made everyone truly realize how much they missed fans.

Game two: Ian Anderson vs. Zac Eflin, Braves win 5-4

This game was a whirlwind and a nail biter. In the top of the first inning, the Phillies scored two runs. Then in the bottom of the first inning the Braves scored three. Acuña doubled, Ozzie doubled and scored Acuña, and then Freddie decided to hit one out of the park. Anderson still hasn’t gotten into his pitching grove yet. He threw a lot of pitches and couldn’t always find his mark and. He pitched 5.1 innings, gave up four runs, five hits, and two home runs. Anderson did strike out five and he only walked one. Let me paint the picture for you. The game was tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ehire Adrianza leads off the inning with a double, he has really shown his ability to hit with power off the bench. Acuña singles, Adrianza goes to third. Ozzie gets out 😦 and then Freddie Freeman is up to bat. He grounds into a fielders choice which is fielded by the pitcher. The Phillies pitcher, Jose Alvarado, doesn’t know where to throw the baseball. No one was covering second base. He froze, and in that moment Adrianza saw an opportune moment and he scored. It was an embarrassing play for the Phillies that turned into an absolute gift run for the Braves. The Braves held on and won that game 5-4.

Game three: Drew Smyly vs. Matt Moore, Braves lost 7-6

This was a good game to watch. The end result, not so much. The Braves had such a great opportunity to win this game, and honestly they should have. Bottom of the first inning, first pitch he saw, Acuña leads off with a double. The very next pitch that Phillies pitcher Moore threw, which was to Ozzie Albies, left the ballpark and it left in a hurry. That’s my man! He has had a slow start but he’s continuing to get better and more life is coming off his bat at the plate. The Phillies took the lead in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four. The Braves weren’t gonna have that so they tied it in the bottom of that inning. Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. He hit three home runs in this series, one in every single game. He’s starting to heat up as well! Top of the sixth inning, Bryce Harper hits a solo shot. Phillies lead 6-5… but not for long! In the bottom of the seventh inning Acuña got in the home run fun, too. Launching a solo shot, he tied the game 6-6.

Okay, this is where things get frustrating. Top of the ninth inning. Phillies third baseman, Alec Bohm leads off the inning with a double. He gets advanced to third by second baseman Jean Segura on a ground out. Now, here is when things go whack. Didi Gregorius sends a fly ball out to Braves left fielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna catches the ball, and Bohm tags up to try and score. Ozuna’s throw is right on the money. The baseball and runner get to home plate at the same time and Bohm is… safe? The home plate umpire says he was at least. Honestly I don’t think anyone, including the umpires, were sure about the call. It was an official review on whether Bohm was safe or not. The review took five minutes, and they still got the call wrong. Alec Bohm’s foot NEVER TOUCHED THE PLATE. You can look at review after review, and I don’t know how it wasn’t clear to the people in New York and the umpire that his foot didn’t touch the plate. Because of this horrible call, the Braves lost their chance to place some payback on the Phillies and sweep them.

Overall, it was a good game for the Braves. Except of course, the bad call at home plate. Hopefully the Braves bats will continue to come to life in the next few games and they will keep on winning.

Braves vs Nationals Series Wrap

After the first series, the Braves played and lost against to the Phillies. The first game of this series against the Nationals was postponed due to Covid protocols. I wasn’t exactly sure how this game would play out for the Braves, but I do think that the day off was good for them all around.

Game one: Drew Smyly vs. Max Scherzer, Braves lost 6-5

This game started off with an absolute bang *literally* when Ronald Acuña Jr. belted a home run on the first pitch he saw from Scherzer. Then, Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run in the same inning, and Swanson got in on the fun, too, hitting a solo shot in the top of the second. Now, for Acuña, one home run off of Scherzer wasn’t enough. He needed another one. So in the top of the third inning, Acuña sent a bomb into the sky for another solo home run in BACK to BACK at-bats. Wow! Drew Smyly pitched well over his six innings of work — he gave up four runs, only walked one, and struck out eight. Overall the thing that killed the Braves in this game was ultimately their bullpen. This was not the bullpen’s day at all. Surrendering two runs late in the game (the eighth and ninth innings), the bullpen allowed Juan Soto to walk it off for the Nats. The positive thing that came out of this game for the Braves was that their offense started to perk up.

Game two: Max Fried vs. Erick Fedde, Braves win 7-6

Because the original first game of the series with the Nationals was postponed, the Braves played in a doubleheader. In those doubleheaders, the two opposing teams only play seven innings. I personally really enjoy the doubleheaders because they seem more exciting and every inning really counts…and the Braves always seem to do very well in them ;). Once again, pitching wise for the Braves, Fried didn’t have his best stuff. In just two innings of work he gave up eight hits, five runs, a walk, and a home run. He also got a come-backer to the leg in the second inning while pitching. He was removed from the game for precautionary reasons. For the remainder of the game the bullpen did a very good job, only surrendering one more run and it was in the bottom of the seventh inning… the final inning of the doubleheader, scary! But they held on, and the Braves got their first win of the 2021 season…finally!!! Another thing that made this game even better was that my man, Ozzie Albies, had his first hit of the season. A lead-off single in the seventh inning, and he scored too!

Game three: Huascar Ynoa vs. Stephen Strasburg, Braves win 2-0

Doubleheader game two. Who would have imagined that out of all the Braves starters, that Ynoa, who wasn’t even scheduled to pitch until a few hours before the game, would come out and produce the best start of the year for the Braves’ pitching staff. I know I certainly didn’t! Huascar threw five scoreless innings, only surrendering one walk and two hits. He also struck out five National batters. It was a scoreless game all around until in the top of the seventh inning Pablo Sandoval was up to bat as a pinch hitter Then he did exactly what he did in the opening day game against the Phillies. He sent an absolute missile over the center-field fence. Wow! He is showing BIG TIME power. Overall this was a great game. Braves are starting to get all the gears clicking and showing their talent. Albies also picked up his second hit of the season in this game. 🙂

The Atlanta Braves now have a 2-4 record and will play again tomorrow on their home field, in front of their home fans as they take on the Phillies for the Home Opener. Go Braves!

Braves vs Phillies Series Wrap

Okay Braves fans, I know, this series was not what we wanted the season to start with… a sweep — with us being swept. I really don’t know how to put it in words except disappointment and a shock. However, in 2019 the Braves started off the season on the road against the Phillies and they got swept then, too. Yet, that didn’t stop them from winning the NL East for a second year in a row and playing the rest of the season very well!

While this series was a tough pill to swallow and not what anyone in Braves country wanted to start out with, there was still some hope sparked and potential shown in this series!

Game one: Max Fried vs. Aaron Nola, Braves lost 3-2

What a game to start the season. Extra innings and everything. The only thing that would’ve made this game better is if the Braves had won. Let’s start off by discussing the “good” stuff from the game, shall we? Fried pitched well. He had eight strikeouts over five innings, and he only gave up two walks. He did give up six hits and two runs, which isn’t awful but not exactly what I expected from him. We do have to keep in mind that it was his first real start of 2021, and he is still filing in for Mike Soroka in the number one spot in the rotation until Soroka returns. The Braves did have some late inning sparks as pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run blast off of Nola in the top of the seventh inning. That is definitely something that the Braves were happy to see from him. He has big time power in the bench role, and it showed. There were a couple minor things like Freddie’s error in the fourth, and Ozzie’s aggressive base running in the top of the tenth. Maybe if those things were different, the game’s end result would have been as well… but it’s too late for that now.

Game two: Charlie Morton vs. Zack Wheeler, Braves lost 4-0

Whew. Game one was tough to watch, this one might’ve been even harder. I wish I could talk about the Braves’ offense and how it really came through for this game, too bad they didn’t score anything. They didn’t really do much of anything at the plate. They had one hit courtesy of d’Arnaud and struck out a total of 14 times. Morton’s pitching wasn’t top notch. He gave up three of the four runs that the Phillies scored, he gave up two walks, but he did strike out five. One of the toughest things about this game for me besides that the Braves didn’t score, was that the Phillies pitcher had two hits, two RBI’s, and scored once. That just shows how hot the Phillies lineup was — even the pitcher had something to say at the plate.

Game three: Ian Anderson vs. Zach Eflin, Braves lost 2-1

Once again offensively the Braves weren’t exactly there. However, they did get one run on a solo homer by Travis d’Arnaud. Pitching wise, Ian Anderson had a very decent start against the Phillies. He went five innings, gave up one earned run, walked two, and he struck out seven. Chris Martin gave up the other run for the Braves in the eight inning and then exited the game and hasn’t pitched since. He was experiencing numbness in his fingers, which the Braves training staff gave immediate attention to considering he is a key pitcher for the Braves.

Overall this series wasn’t a very enjoyable one in Braves’ Country. But losing is a part of the game. You can’t always win every single game every single day, it doesn’t work like that. There is always going to be a team who is hotter than you are when you meet them on the field. That’s how it goes. We just hope that the next time two teams meet up on the diamond, it’s the Braves who are hot!

Opening Day is Here!

Those four words are some of the sweetest words you’ll ever hear if you’re a baseball fan. The waiting is over, and now it’s time for Braves baseball!!!

The Braves will start off the season on the road in Philadelphia against the Phillies. The Phillies organization, like the Braves, will have fans this season. It will be a long awaited, very much missed part of a baseball game. Hearing the fans in the background, and seeing them celebrating when their team scores and hits a home run is what makes it so fun for everyone. Not to mention, it will also be nice to see real people sitting in the stands rather than cardboard cutouts of their faces.

One of the things I love the most about baseball, besides the game itself, is the sounds. Baseball games create such a wonderful atmosphere. You have the fans making noise in the background, the sound of the ball hitting the glove, and the by far the best sound — when the baseball meets the bat. Ahh it’s just so wonderful to think about!

The Braves will have Max Fried on the mound as their opening day starter. He will face off against Aaron Nola. The Braves would have Soroka pitching, but he is still not one hundred percent. They do however expect him back as early as the end of April. The two innings he pitched on Tuesday against the Red Sox was quite promising as he struck out two batters and only surrendered one run. The Braves will be more than happy to have Soroka back, but until he is back, the Braves will not have to worry because Max Fried is very capable to pitch in the number one spot in the rotation. He did it last season after Soroka tore his Achilles, and Max proved his worth on the mound.

I cannot describe how excited I am that today is Opening Day. The wait is over, fans are back, and it’s time for the Braves to PLAY BALL!!!

The game today is a 3:05 pm eastern time… you don’t want to miss it!

Go Braves!

Player Production so Far This Spring Training

Even though Spring Training games don’t exactly count, they are none the less fun to watch and important. Spring training is a time for Minor Leaguers to show their stuff and try to make the roster, and for veterans to try and earn a spot on the bench. Spring Training is also super important for the everyday players to warm up their bats, sharpen up their defense, and face other teams’ pitchers.

As a manger, in this case Brian Snitker, you watch player production carefully to see which Minor Leaguers and Spring Training invitees are showing great skill and production. They also look at the shape that their everyday players are in and how well they are preforming during the spring.

The Braves have had a very impressive Spring Training so far this year. Their young players have really shown out in their talent, and the every day players have continued to be strong, reliable, and have proven their talent levels. Here are a few Braves players who have had a good Spring Training so far:

Ronald Acuña Jr.

This kid. His amount of talent continues to grow with every season. He has hit four home runs so far this spring…four! And they haven’t been cheap little line drive home runs either. Another thing is his strikeout rate hasn’t been as high as we normally see, which is encouraging. He has also gained more patience at the plate, not swinging at every pitch or getting an out after only seeing a couple of pitches at the plate. Acuña will be an exciting player again to watch this year, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the Braves in 2021!

Ozzie Albies

My man! Ozzie has continued to show his talented ability as a switch-hitter. He has improved from the left side of the plate, and continues to be great from the right side. Albies has hit two home runs this spring and has a .250 avg. so far this Spring Training. He was 1 for 2 yesterday with a single and a stolen base. We can’t forget to mention his defensive abilities. It surprises me greatly that Ozzie hasn’t won a Gold Glove in his career. (He should’ve won one in 2019.. but don’t get me started on that!). Albies has been and will continue to be a Gold Glove worthy, powerful switch-hitter in his career, and I cannot wait to see him play in 2021!

Marcell Ozuna

Like last year, Ozuna had a slow start to his Spring Training. However, his bat has started to come alive within the last few games. In 31 at-bats he has a .226 average, has six RBI’s, and has hit two home runs. In yesterday’s game against the Rays he was 2 for 3 with a home run. With the National League not having the DH this season, Ozuna will be the Braves left-fielder. His defensive skills aren’t the greatest, but he has worked on them this spring and has done a good job in left field. Obviously, given how he hit last year, he has a big time power bat. He will once again be such a bonus hitting cleanup behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup. He will be a fun one to watch for sure this season!

These are just three of the Braves players that have really shown up this Spring Training. Obviously Braves manager Brian Snitker isn’t worried about how well Ozzie, Acuña, and Ozuna have preformed this spring. He knows their abilities and that you can’t have your best stuff every single game.

One thing to point out is the empty spot on the bench. In my opinion the Braves are either going to add Jake Lamb or Jason Kipnis to the bench. Lamb is currently riding on a .188 average in 32 at-bats. He has hit one homer, has had 6 hits, and has five RBI’s. He has also struck out 11 times. Kipnis isn’t doing much better.. he has a .240 avg. in 25 at-bats with one home run, six hits, and three RBI’s. He has struck out 7 times.

Neither of their spring stats are eye-opening. They have both struck out a good number of times and have hit the same amount of home runs — one. It will be interesting to see who the Braves go with in the end…if they go with either of them! Like I said, they are just my two predictions for who will round out the Braves bench.

My 2021 Opening Day Starting Rotation Predictions

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Now that I have done a post on my lineup predictions for Opening Day, I thought I’d do one on my starting rotation predictions. With Mike Soroka’s return not yet known, he most likely won’t be pitching on Opening Day. Note that this rotation order doesn’t include Soroka given he is still on recovery.

Here is my projected Starting Rotation:

  1. Max Fried
  2. Ian Anderson
  3. Charlie Morton
  4. Kyle Wright
  5. Drew Smyly

Obviously, when Mike Soroka does return, he will be the Braves number one starter. Upon his return, one of those guys would have to leave the rotation and would only really be used as a backup pitcher, and most likely in the bullpen. Depending on how Spring Training goes, and his work on the mound during the beginning of the 2021 season, I think Kyle Wright will be the one guy who gets “kicked off” the rotation once Soroka returns. I have nothing against him, I just think, considering his experience level and his troubles in the majors, he will be replaced by Soroka. Or the Braves could do a six man rotation. That way he will still be in the starting rotation, and it would give the other guys an extra day’s rest.

Last season, after Soroka got hurt, it was hard to imagine the Braves being able to have such a strong rotation with him gone. But, Max Fried really stepped up and proved how good he is, and the younger guys did their part, too. Not to mention Ian Anderson who came on the scene and in his fist Major League appearance, got a win against the New York Yankees!

My Braves 2021 Opening Day Lineup Predictions

With less than a month until the start of baseball, and Spring Training already underway, I decided it was time to start thinking about the Opening Day lineup!

The Braves have so many amazing players! I would think it gives Braves Manager, Brian Snitker, a little bit of ease when it comes to creating the lineup on a day-to-day basis. Along with with what order I think the players will hit in, I’m going to list what position I think they’ll play. Let’s get started!

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. position: Right Field
  2. Ozzie Albies, position: Second Base
  3. Freddie Freeman, position: First Base
  4. Marcell Ozuna, position: Left Field
  5. Travis d’Arnaud, position: Catcher
  6. Austin Riley, position: Third Base
  7. Dansby Swanson, position: Shortstop
  8. Christian Pache, position: Center Field

This is how I believe it will be, but there are a couple of spots that Snitker could swap players. Swanson and Riley could easily be swapped. However, I put Riley before Swanson so there could be a little more power at the bottom of the lineup, so it can have a lot of depth to it. And Albies and Swanson could be changed, but I personally don’t think they will be. Ozzie has proven how capable he is in hitting second. He can easily drive a run in early if Acuña were to reach. Also, I do want to note Christian Pache. He made his debut last year for the Braves and did very well. He also proved his defensive abilities in the 2020 postseason. I don’t think the Braves will start Ender Inciarte this season. I think he will be a bench player. His numbers aren’t what they used to be and he has become injury prone. Yes, he is still good defensively, which is why I think the Braves will give him a spot on the Opening Day roster, just not on the starting lineup.

My Thoughts on the Braves Off-season Acquisitions

With spring training underway and the start of the 2021 season a just little over a month away, I’ve decides to revisit and give my thoughts on the Braves’ moves and signings this past off-season.

At the beginning of the off-season, the Braves association was once again active from the get-go. They signed Drew Smyly to a 1-year, 11 million dollar deal on November 16, 2020. Smyly is a 31-year old left-handed pitcher. He has played seven major league seasons, where all but two were in the American League. With that in mind, considering the DH will not be in the National League in 2021, he will have to get used to hitting. His numbers and stats look pretty good with a 35-35 win and loss record. One thing that sticks out about him is his ability to use his curveball as a weapon. Like Max Fried, he has the talent of a good curveball and fast ball, and they are both left-handed pitchers. I think having them on the same team could be used as an advantage for the Braves.

Their next signing was on November 24, 2020, when the braves inked a deal with veteran right handed pitcher Charlie Morton to a 1-year, 15 million dollar contract. I personally like this move. His numbers through his career are pretty good, with a win and loss record 93-89 over a span of twelve major league seasons. I also feel that he will add a good, strong veteran presence to the mound and in the clubhouse. The Braves starting rotation is full of young guys with Soroka, Fried, Anderson, etc. so having Morton will give the young guys someone to grow and learn from.

Marcell Ozuna. That man was a HUGE part of the Braves 2020 season. But, like the Braves did with Josh Donaldson in 2019, they had only signed him to a 1-year contract. Ozuna showed tremendous power with his hitting abilities in the 2020 season, and he even played some games in left field when he wasn’t the designated-hitter. He almost won the triple-crown with the Braves! But his fellow teammate, Freddie Freeman won the NL MVP, which I might add, he well deserved. Once the Braves 2020 season was over, it was a waiting game to see if the Braves would re-sign Marcell. He was SO amazing for the Braves last year and brought great depth to the line-up hitting behind Freddie Freeman, with Ronald Acuña Jr. hitting in front of him. And then finally, on February 6, of 2021 the Braves announced that Marcell Ozuna was back with a 4-year 65 million dollar contract WITH a fifth year, 15 million dollar option! I was so glad that the Braves re-signed him, and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us in the 2021 season.

Another “signing” they did was with Jason Kipnis. I could not find an amount of money he got, but that is probably because he is a non-roster player for the Braves who has been invited to spring training. Kipnis is a 33-year-old veteran second baseman, who can play the outfield if necessary. To be honest, I don’t know if I like this signing or not. Yes, the Braves could use him as a back up second baseman if Ozzie (my favorite player) gets hurt. But wouldn’t that be Johan Camargo’s spot on the roster? Isn’t he supposed to be our infield bench player?? I would just assume that is his role for the Braves this season, because they are obviously going to try Austin Riley at third base again. But the Braves are probably giving him a chance this spring training to see if he has enough quality stuff to add extra depth to our bench besides Camargo to play the infield, especially since the Braves no longer have Charlie Culberson. I guess only time will tell what the Braves do with him, but as we all know, no one can replace the Braves’ amazing second baseman, Ozzie Albies!

And finally, the Braves last signing of the offseason was Jake Lamb. Lamb is a 30-year-old third baseman. The Braves signed him to a 1-year 1 million dollar deal. However, his deal is a non-guaranteed Major League contract. Jake is very injury prone, having only played 165 games over the last three seasons. Once again with this signing, if he makes the opening day roster, I believe the Braves signed him to add more depth to the infield part of our bench. He is a left handed batter, but he fields right handed. That could be a very useful weapon for him.

The Braves made some good moves this offseason, but I think the best one was when they re-signed Marcell Ozuna. And not just to another one year deal, but to a four-year-deal, with a fifth year option! I think that was a very smart move, and if the DH were to come to the NL within the next year, that will just be an even bigger bonus for the Braves!!