Braves vs. Reds Series Wrap

Another split series, but hey, I’d rather have that than a sweep. The Braves lost the first game, won the second, lost the third, and then won the fourth and final game of the series against Cincinnati. Once again pitching was the main problem. I am willing to bet money on it; once the Atlanta Braves can figure out their bullpen problems, they will be an even better team than they have already proved they can be because they won’t be blowing every other game they play.

Game One: Jesse Chavez vs. Tony Santillan, Braves lost 5-3

Atlanta struck first in the scoring category. In the top of the first inning, Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run to give his team a 1-0 lead.

I’d personally never seen Jesse Chavez pitch before this game. His stuff was decent. I would’ve liked to’ve seen him pitch more than just 2.1 innings, but that didn’t happen. In his 2.1 innings, he gave up to hits, two runs, one walk and he had three strikeouts.

The Reds kept up their 2-1 lead all the way into the seventh inning, where they added on. Luke Jackson was pitching for the Braves and this was the first outing where he actually struggled. He gave up a two run home run to Reds right fielder, Nick Castellanos to extend their lead to 4-0.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Braves made a shot at coming back. Freddie Freeman started the inning with a lineout. My my, Ozzie Albies was up to bat following Freeman with one out. On the first pitch he saw, he hit it out of the ballpark for solo home run making the Braves one run closer at 4-2. Austin Riley followed Ozzie’s homer with a single, and then Abraham Almonte reached base on a fielding error by Cincinnati’s first baseman, Joey Votto. Ehire Adrianza came up to bat (he was in the game playing right field for Ronald Acuña Jr., who wasn’t in the game because of back tightness), and he had an RBI single that scored Austin Riley making the score 4-3. The Braves had another opportune chance to score again that inning, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Chris Martin came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning for the Braves and keep them within a one run differential. Martin, however, wasn’t able to do that. After getting the first two batters to groundout and lineout, he gave up a double to the Reds second baseman Jonathan India, which was followed by a walk to Jesse Winker. So, with two out and two on, Nick Castellanos was up to bat. He had a first pitch RBI single that extended the Reds lead to 5-3. Winker was thrown out trying to score all the way from first to end the inning, but India had already scored before he got out.

Game Two: Drew Smyly vs. Vladimir Gutierrez, Braves won 3-2

Drew Smyly pitched very well for Atlanta. He went six innings, gave up six hits, one run, ZERO walks, and he had three strikeouts. His command was good, he had control over where his pitches were going, and he never got into any high-stress situations. To end his outing, Smyly only had 84 pitches. I think he could’ve gone at least another inning.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth. After two quick outs of the Braves’ eighth place hitter and pitcher, Acuña kept the inning alive with a walk. Acuña stole second base and then Freddie Freeman hit a ground-rule, RBI double giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. In the top of sixth inning, with two outs, Dansby Swanson hit a first-pitch, solo home run extending Atlanta’s lead at 2-0.

The Reds scored one in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by Tyler Stephenson to make it 2-1. However, Guillermo Heredia hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to extend the Braves lead at 3-1. It was sent into straightaway center, and it went a LONG way.

Cincinnati came one run closer in the bottom of the seventh inning when Eugenio Suarez it a solo home run, but it wasn’t enough and the Braves won with a final score of 3-2.

Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Luis Castillo, Braves lost 4-1

Ian Anderson did not pitch a bad game for the Braves. He just made a couple pitch mistakes and the Cincinnati lineup took advantage of that. Anderson went six inning; he allowed five hits, three runs, one walk, and he had a career-tying nine strikeouts.

The Reds had a three-nothing lead coming into the top of the eighth inning. Freddie Freeman started the inning with a groundout. My man, Ozzie Albies followed his strikeout with a four pitch walk. Austin Riley followed Ozzie with a three pitch, swinging strikeout. There were now two outs with one on. Swanson kept the inning alive with a walk. So two men, Albies and Swanson, reached base via the base-on-balls. Guillermo Heredia had an RBI single that scored Ozzie and got the Braves on the board, making it a 3-1.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Edgar Santana came on to pitch for Atlanta. The second pitch he threw was hit out of the ballpark by Red’s catcher Tyler Stephenson, extending their lead to 4-1.

The Braves could not get their bats to come to life enough in the ninth inning to give them a chance to score, so the Reds won.

Game Four: Kyle Muller vs. Tyler Mahle, Braves won 4-0

What a game for Kyle Muller! He went five scoreless innings, only allowed one hit, two walks, and he struck out nine Cincinnati players. Muller has some impressive stuff. He made pitches when he needed to, he didn’t work too many deep counts, and never had to work his way out of a high-stress situation.

Offensively in this game, it was all Braves. Guillermo Heredia was hit by a pitch to start the top of the third inning. He was followed by two strikeouts; one by cater Kevan Smith and the other by pitcher, Kyle Muller. Acuña kept the inning going with an RBI double, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. The very next pitch following Acuña’s double, Freddie Freeman hit for an RBI single to score Ronald and extend the Braves lead to 2-0.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Braves added onto their lead when Ronald Acuña Jr. went yard, sending one into the seats in straightaway center for a solo home run; making it 3-0 Atlanta. In the top of the sixth inning, Austin Riley decided to get in on the home run fun. He hit a solo home run, also to straightaway center, extending the Braves’ lead once again making it 4-0.

This was an overall great game for the Atlanta Braves. Starting pitch was great and so was the bullpen. Offensively, it went well for the Braves, too. It seems they have a game like this every series. If they can get into the groove/routine of doing this more often, they are going to win a lot more baseball games. Come on, Bravos!

Braves vs. Mets Series Wrap

The New York Mets are in first place for a reason. They have very good pitching. They have a good bullpen, and they don’t have to worry about it blowing close games for them. Plus, they have a decent hitting lineup all the way through. The Atlanta Braves put up a good fight against them however. They split the series, and the doubleheader. Their main problem was relief pitching. A trend that we’ve seen haunt them throughout the entire 2021 season thus far.

Game One: Kyle Muller vs. Jacob DeGrom, Braves lost 4-2

Jacob DeGrom is a very tough pitcher to face, and the Braves got to experience him first hand. The Braves got one hit and two walks off of DeGrom. One of the walks that he surrendered to the Braves was to Atlanta’s pitcher Kyle Muller. In his first major league plate-appearance, Muller drew an eight pitch walk off of Mets ace, Jacob DeGrom. You know he had to be absolutely pumped about that outcome, and it’s something that he will never forget.

Kyle Muller pitched well for the Braves in his first major league appearance as a starting pitcher. He gave up one run, which came on a wild pitch, one hit, two walks and had three strikeouts over four innings. The Braves bullpen was ultimately what blew the game for Atlanta. Braves manager Brian Snitker only let Muller go four innings. I get that it was his first appearance as a starter in his career (it was only his second appearance… ever), but he only had 56 pitches and was doing quite well. In the end, it was one of those questionable bullpen calls made by Snitker that didn’t pay off for the Braves.

The pitcher that Snitker brought on after Kyle Muller, was Shane Greene. Greene re-signed with Atlanta in the middle of this season. He hasn’t preformed very well, but he has had a lot of pressure on him and has tried to over preform. He got the first out, then hit the next batter. He gave up two straight singles to load the bases with Mets. He got the next batter out. So it was bases loaded, two outs. Dominic Smith was up to bat for New York, and he hit a bases clearing double to extend the Mets lead at 4-0.

The only real offense that the Braves had was in the top of the sixth inning. After Ronald Acuña Jr. struck out, Freddie Freeman followed him with what he does best… a walk. My man, Ozzie Albies, got the Braves on the board when he smoked a two-run dinger into the seats in right center field. That made the score 4-2 New York still on top, the final score of the game.

Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Jerad Eickhoff, Braves won 1-0; game two of doubleheader

This was such a good game- it was even better because the Braves won. It was a close game all the way through with high-stress innings, pitches, and defensive plays.

Ian Anderson pitched great for Atlanta. He went 5.1 innings, allowed three hits, one walk and had five strikeouts. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning, which is ultimately why Anderson was taken out of the game.

A.J. Minter was brought in following Ian Anderson. He got into a little bit of deeper trouble, but the Mets’ players on base made some bad base running mistakes, and Atlanta’s great defense took full advantage of it to get out of trouble.

The one run that the Atlanta Braves scored was on a solo home run by Ronald Acuña Jr. in the top of the fifth inning. It went a long way, and not only did he watch it, but he got an ear-full of boo’s from the New York fan base. Braves lead 1-0.

Will Smith came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Braves and to try and seal 1-0 Atlanta lead. He worked himself into a mess. He had bases loaded with one out. However, the Mets, once again, had some bad base running and got themselves out. It was almost like they were looking for ways to get out… that’s how bad it was. I’m not complaining however! It was great way for the Braves to preserve their 1-0 lead.

Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. Marcus Stroman, Braves won 3-0

It’s not every day that you shut out your division-leading rivals in back to back games… but the Atlanta Braves did it to the New York Mets!

Charlie Morton pitched very well for the Braves. He went seven innings, allowed one hit, two walks, and he had ELEVEN strikeouts. He threw 107 pitches, none of them were high-stress. He had total control over the Mets lineup, and it paid off great for the Braves in the end.

Atlanta scored all three of their runs with one swing of the bat in the top of the third. After Freddie Freeman flew out, Ozzie got on base with a one out single. Abraham Almonte followed him with a walk. Austin Riley made the second out on a groundout, but he advanced both runners to second and third. That brought Dansby Swanson up with two out, and runners in scoring position. On the first pitch he saw, Swanson hit the baseball out of the park for a three-run homer, giving the Braves a 3-0 lead.

That was all the Braves needed. The bullpen followed Morton with a good, clean outing securing the Braves victory.

Game Four: Kyle Wright vs. Tylor Megill, Braves lost 7-3

Kyle Wright, made his first start of the 2021 season, and it wasn’t pretty. He went two innings, gave up five hits, five runs, and three walks. He did have one strikeout, but it didn’t make much difference in his overall performance. With his early departure, that left a LOT of ground for the Braves bullpen to cover.

Atlanta scored three runs. Two came in the top of the fifth inning when Ender Inciarte hit a two-run homer. The other run they scored came in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI single by Ehire Adrianza that scored Austin Riley.

Pitching was the biggest problem for the Braves in this game. Wright started the game with bad pitching, and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

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.