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. Pirates Series Wrap

What a series! The Braves may not have swept the Pirates, but they definitely broke out offensively and were able to score multiple runs an inning, all through the lineup. Starting pitching also continued to go well for the Braves, and in the last three games of the series, the bullpen was much better than we’ve seen.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Wil Crowe, Braves lost 6-4

Drew Smyly’s start for the Braves started out looking like it was going to be a rough one, but he turned that around and pitched a good quality six innings for the Braves. He allowed six hits, three runs, only one walk, and he had seven strikeouts. Although the three runs he gave up were all via home run, it was nice to see Smyly be able to hold the score for the Pirates at 3 and give his team a chance to come back.

The Braves tried hard for the comeback! In the bottom of the second inning, William Contreras hit a three run homer to left field, giving the Braves the lead at 3-2. Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, (after the Pitsburg Pirates scored their third run) Dansby Swanson hit a two run bomb to left field, making it 4-3 Braves.

Sean Newcomb started the seventh inning for the Braves. He got two outs in his appearance, but he also surrendered the lead and made it a tied ballgame. The game remained tied and went into extra innings.

Jacob Webb came on to pitch the top of the tenth inning. This was his first appearance on the mound for the Atlanta Braves since he hit Mets’ player Kevin Pillar in the face on May 17. You could tell that Webb was still uncomfortable on the mound, and he did not pitch inside to the Pirates players at all. He left everything over the plate and the Pirates didn’t miss a pitch. Webb gave up a lead off single and then an RBI single to Kevin Newman to make it 5-4 Pirates on top. He then got a forceout that advanced Newman to third, and then Grant Dayton came on in relief of Webb. He gave up a sac fly to make it 6-4 Pirates.

The Braves had no luck in the bottom of the ninth inning to make a comeback.

Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Tyler Anderson, Braves won 20-1

Hehe. This was certainly a super fun game to watch. I mean, it’s not every day the Braves score 20 runs in a game, right?! The Braves scored early in this game, and didn’t stop scoring until it was over.

Ian Anderson did a fantastic job pitching for the Braves in this game. He went six innings, allowed six hits, gave up zero runs, and ZERO walks. Not to mention he also had six strikeouts. It was nice to see Anderson be able to have command over his ball-to-strike ratio and not give up any walks. That is a huge component to have from your starting pitcher. Free baserunners pretty much always come around and score, and those hurt your team the worst. But Anderson didn’t not pitch himself into any trouble and had a great outing.

In the bottom of the first inning, Ozzie Albies had an RBI double, his thirteenth of the season, which scored Ronald Acuña Jr. and gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. After my man Ozzie got the scoring started, the Braves they were on fire offensively!

In the bottom of the second inning, Dansby Swanson led off with a double, followed by a walk to Kevan Smith, who was making his Atlanta Braves’ debut as catcher. That walk was followed by a single to Guillermo Heredia to load the bases. After Ian Anderson struck out, Ronald Acuña Jr was in the batter’s box for the Braves. After working a full count, Acuña got a pitch off the plate and drove it into the seats of the Chop House for a grand slam. The Braves extended their lead to 5-0. Acuña once again added onto the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning with a sac fly that scored Guillermo Heredia making it 6-0, all Braves.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Ozuna led off with a four pitch walk. Ozzie Albies was up to bat, and after working a 2-1 count, Ozzie hit a home run to left center field making it 8-0 Braves. Yay! After Ozzie had gotten his Panda hug in the dugout, Austin Riley sent a bomb out of the ballpark for a solo home run making it 9-0. That was just the second time the Atlanta Braves had gone back-to-back with home runs all season.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Braves hit yet another home run. This one was by Marcell Ozuna. He hit it to left field and extended the lead to 10-0, all Braves. The very next inning, the Braves once again added on. Austin Riley hit another home run and then following his homer, Dansby Swanson hit one out of the park. That made it 12-0 Braves and the third time the Braves had hit back-to-back homers this season… the second of that night!

As if the Braves hadn’t scored enough… they added on big time to their already huge lead in the bottom of the eighth. Freddie Freeman led the inning off with a walk. Ozuna followed his walk with a double, and then Ozzie had a walk. The bases were loaded with no one out. Riley had a sac fly to score Freeman and make it 13-0. Swanson came up to bat and he had a walk. Then the Braves catcher Kevan Smith, had an RBI single that score Ozuna, making it 14-0. The Braves still had the bases loaded. Heredia was up to bat next and he had another RBI single making it 15-0 Braves. The Braves played their other baserunner station to station, so they still had the bases loaded with one out.

Ehire Adrianza came on to pinch-hit for Josh Tomlin, who pitched two scoreless innings for the Braves in relief of Anderson. On the FIRST PITCH he saw Adrianza hit a GRAND SLAM into the Chop House making it 19-0 Braves. Following the grand slam, Acuña struck out then Freeman had a double and Ozuna scored him with another double making it 20-0 Braves. Wow!

It would’ve been amazing for the Braves to have shut out the Pirates 20-0. Jacob Webb pitched the ninth inning for the Braves. He was still looking for a bounce-back start after hitting Kevin Pillar of the Mets in the face on May 17. He got the first guy out with no problem, but then Webb allowed a walk to Erik Gonzalez. It was the only walk a Braves pitcher gave to the Pirates in the entire game. It would’ve been so great to see the Braves pitching staff go an entire game without giving up a walk, but that wasn’t meant to be. After the walk, Webb gave up a single to Ben Gamel. Gonzalez advanced to third base on a throwing error by Webb. He then got a strikeout of Cole Tucker, and then gave up a RBI single to Will Craig making the score 20-1. Webb got the final out of the inning without giving up anymore runs. The one run that the Pirates score was the walk that Jacob Webb gave up… walks always come back to haunt a pitcher.

Following that bullpen appearance, Jacob Webb was sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett. I think that was a smart move for the Braves to make, and I personally thing that the Atlanta Braves coaching staff should have made that move a long time ago.

Game Three: Bryse Wilson vs. Mitch Keller, Braves won 6-1

Most of the time after a team has a blow out game, they don’t always score a lot of runs or win the next game. The Braves however took the momentum of the night before and carried it into this game.

Bryse Wilson pitched very well for the Braves. He went 6.2 innings allowing only five hits, one run, two walks, and he struck out four Pittsburgh batters. Wilson never really struggled in this outing. He had a few baserunners scattered here and there and gave up a solo home run to Michael Perez in the top of the third, but that was it.

The Braves started the scoring early. In the Bottom of the first inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. led the game off with a first pitch solo home run giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. It’s impressive to see Acuña be able to hit a homer on the first pitch, especially with how far he can hit them! The Braves added onto their lead in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Austin Riley that scored Freddie Freeman and made it 2-0 Braves. In the bottom of the third inning, Freeman had an RBI single that scored Ender Inciarte, making it 3-0 Braves still on top.

Braves were up 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freeman led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. Marcell Ozuna followed him with a flyout, and that brought Ozzie Albies up to the plate. (He was hitting from the left side.) On the first pitch he saw, he hit a BOMB into the seats in right center field for a two-run homer making it 5-1 Braves. And then, as if one home run wasn’t enough, Ozzie hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning from the right side of the plate, making it 6-1 Braves.

Ozzie may be little, but he has gigantic power! He really showed that with those two home runs. He definitely powered the Braves, along with good pitching, into another Braves win against the Pirates.

Game Four: Max Fried vs. JT Brubaker, Braves won 7-1

Max Fried got off to a shaky start for the Braves but settled down and pitched a great game. He went seven innings allowing only four hits, one run, three walks, and had two strikeouts.

The one run that Fried gave up was on an RBI double by Bryan Reynolds. That gave them a 1-0 lead, but Max was able to stop the Pirates there and give his Braves a chance to score.

The Atlanta Braves offense did just that. Acuña grounded out, and Freeman struck out to start off the inning. The Braves now had two outs, Ozuna had a single to keep the Braves alive in the inning. Ozzie followed Ozuna with an in-field single. Austin Riley came up to bat and he turned the game around for Atlanta with a three run home run. Whew! This kid’s got some home run power.

Austin Riley added onto the Braves lead in the bottom of the third with another home run! This one was a two-run shot, making it 5-1 Braves. The Braves scored one more time in the bottom of the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Dansby Swanson, making it 7-1 Braves. That was the final score of the game.

One fun fact about all three home runs in game four of the series was that Ozzie was on base for all of them! He had a single in the first, was hit by a pitch in the third, and had another single in the bottom of the sixth. Albies really started to come to life in this series, and I’m sure it has made him and the coaching staff happy. It’s made me happy for sure!

Braves vs. Brewers Series Wrap

For a brief road trip, winning two out of the three games played was nice. I’m sure the Braves would have no doubt been happier with a sweep, but at least they won the series. They could’ve had a chance to win all three games (we’ll discuss that in a little bit) but unfortunately, the bullpen stumbled… again.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Adrian Houser, Braves won 6-3

As expected, after his ankle injury in the previous game, Ronald Acuña Jr. was not in the lineup for the Braves. They played Marcell Ozuna (like always) in left field, Ehire Adrianza in right field, and Ender Inciarte made his return from the injured list in center field.

Drew Smyly pitched very well for the Braves in this start. He went six innings, giving up only four hits, one run, and one walk. He also had four strikeouts. It looked like Drew felt more comfortable on the mound. He also had great command of his pitch count and of the strike zone. Hopefully, he can keep that up and provide some needed solidity to the Braves’ starting rotation.

The Brewers started the scoring in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Luis Urias. The Braves came right back and scored two in the top of the third inning on a single by Austin Riley, which was deflected off of Brewers’ starting pitcher, Adrian Houser, which allowed Ozuna and Dansby Swanson to score, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, on the first pitch he saw, Marcell Ozuna hit a solo home run to straight away center to give the Braves a 3-1. He SMOKED that baseball! Not to take any attention away from Ozuna, but the very next batter, Ozzie Albies, after working a full count, also hit a solo home run to straight away center. YAYY!! It was an absolute BOMB. It went 429 feet, and extended the Braves lead to 5-1. Ozuna and Albies went back-to-back for the first time this season for the Braves. The Braves also scored one more on an RBI single by Ender Inciarte in the top of the eighth to make it 6-1, Braves on top.

The bullpen pitched very well and effectively for the Braves, until the bottom of the ninth inning. Josh Tomlin started the inning for the Braves. He gave up to solo home runs to the first two batters he faced, making it a 6-3 game. That definitely brought some un-needed suspense into the bottom of the ninth. He retired one batter, and then Brian Snitker went to the bullpen to get Will Smith. Smith did his job and kept the Brewers right there, allowing the Braves to win 5-3.

Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Brett Anderson, Braves won 5-1

Ian Anderson pitched AMAZING for the Braves in this game! He pitched six hitless and scoreless innings for the Braves. He started to pitch the seventh but gave up a single and a double without retiring a batter, and his pitch count was the highest it had ever been in his career (110 pitches), so Brian Snitker took him out. He ended up getting charged one run, that A.J. Minter allowed to score in relief of Anderson. It was very nice to see Anderson have dominance on the mound and pitch as well as he did.

The Braves backed up Anderson’s start by scoring early. They started the scoring off on a RBI double by Ozzie Albies (yay!) which allowed Freddie Freeman to score and advanced Marcell Ozuna to third in the top of the first. Not to mention, it gave the Braves a 1-0 lead! My man has done great so far in this series against the Brewers, and his bat is starting to come to life. The Braves score another run in the top of the first on a sac fly by Dansby Swanson which allowed Ozuna to score.

If you are like me, and follow all of the Braves stats and memorable moments that could possibly happen during the 2021 season, then you would know that coming into this game Freddie Freeman was sitting on 249 career home runs. He finally did it! Freeman hit his 250th career home run, a two-run shot to left center field. He extended the Braves lead to 4-0, and became just the sixth Braves player of all time to reach that monumental goal in his Major League career. Congratulations, Freddie!

The Brewers scored one run, which, like I mentioned earlier, was charged to Ian Anderson, in the bottom of the seventh inning on a sac fly by Brewers’ shortstop Luis Urias.

The Braves scored one more, and final run in the top of the eighth inning on a solo home run to straight away center by William Contreras. That made it a 5-1 Braves lead.

The Braves bullpen came through and didn’t let the Brewers offense score more than the one run they scored in the seventh.

Game Three: Huascar Ynoa vs. Freddy Peralta, Braves lost 10-9

Woah, what a game. After the start that this game had, I honestly did not see the Braves coming even close to a comeback. But, they proved me wrong and looked much more like the relentless Braves team we are used to seeing. It would’ve been even better if they came back and won, but that ultimately did not happen.

This was the first start that we have seen Ynoa start where he didn’t do as well on the mound. Not to mention he did not have a hit this game! Ynoa gave up nine hits, five runs, and two walks in only 4.1 innings of work. He did have six strikeouts, but he just wasn’t as put together on the mound for the Braves in this game. The bullpen didn’t do him too much help in relief either. Following his exit, they gave up three more runs giving the Brewers an 8-0 lead.

Okay… going into the top of the seventh inning, the Atlanta Braves are down 8-0. That is a huge run differential, but the Braves did not let that lead intimidate them! After a flyout of Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson singled and then his hit was followed by a four pitch walk to Austin Riley. Both Swanson and Riley advanced on the base pads on a wild pitch by Brewers pitcher J.P. Feyereisen. Following the wild pitch, William Contreras also reached base on a walk. Ender Inciarte had a two-RBI single following the walk to Contreras getting the Braves on the board making it 8-2.

The Brewers went deeper into their bullpen, replacing Feyereisen with Brent Suter. Keep in mind that their bullpen has yet to retire a Braves batter this inning.

Pablo Sandoval greeted the new pitcher with a first pitch fielder’s choice, he reached base safely. Ehire Adrianza followed Sandoval with another fielder’s choice, no one got out again because of a throwing error by Brewers’ shortstop Luis Urias. It also allowed William Contreras to score making it a 8-3 game. Not to mention, after the error, the Braves still had the bases loaded with one out.

Freddie Freeman was up with the bases loaded. On the very first pitch he saw, Freeman clobbered that baseball to straight away center field for a GRAND SLAM. That was the third grand slam Freeman has ever hit in his major league career. Two of those grand slams came in last year’s shortened season. His first two came within two days of each other against the same team, the Washington Nationals. He hit his third grand slam, his 251st career home run, and got the Braves back in the game making it a 8-7 Brewers lead… all in the same at bat. That made it a COMPLETELY different ballgame from that point forward.

However, once again, the Braves bullpen stumbled in the late innings. Josh Tomlin started the bottom of the seventh inning for the Braves. He gave up a lead off, four-pitch walk, got a flyout, and then gave up a one pitch single to Kolten Wong. Brian Snitker did not let him continue any longer and went even deeper into the Braves bullpen, getting Sean Newcomb. Instead of getting the Braves out of a mess, Newcomb hit the first batter he saw, and then gave up a two run single giving the Brewers an extended lead of 10-7. It’s disappointing to see your team’s bullpen blow a close game after your team worked SO hard getting the team back in the game, and when you know that your team is more than capable of scoring more runs. This is a problem that the Braves are going to have to do something about.

The Braves offense put up a fight ’til the end. They scored one run in the top of the eighth on another fielder’s choice by William Contreras, and there was yet another throwing error by Luis Urias, which allowed Dansby Swanson to score making it 10-8. In the top of the ninth inning, the Braves plated another run on a sac fly by Dansby Swanson which scored Freddie Freeman. That was the last run they earned, making the final score 10-9 Brewers on top.

Yes, it would’ve been nice if the Braves could have come back and won the game, and if their bullpen could preserve a score. But another disappointing and frustrating thing happened in game three of this series. Huascar Ynoa didn’t have his best start. That was made clear. He did not pitch as many innings, he gave up more runs than he normally does, and he didn’t have a hit at the plate. I’m sure the Braves coaching staff was disappointed with his start, but at the end of the day, they know that one player can’t be perfect all the time. Ynoa was also very frustrated with his performance, and he let his frustration out. He punched the bench in the Braves dugout, and as a result of that, he broke his right hand. He is now going to be out for at least two months just to let his hand heal, and then his strength is going to have to be built back up.

I’m sure Huascar is regretting his decision about punching the bench. The Braves needed Ynoa so much. They are already without Mike Soroka, who most likely will not be pitching for the Braves this year, which is a devastating blow, and now they are down yet another pitcher. Hopefully the Braves can gain some stability in the starting rotation and fix the much needed things in the bullpen, and soon.

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. Diamondbacks Series Wrap

When the Braves play at home, it’s just a different experience, even if you’re watching on the TV. Another thing that makes home games even better is fans. And for this series (and home-stand) the Braves had 50% capacity for fans!

Game One: Huascar Ynoa vs. Luke Weaver, Braves won 5-4

What a great game to open up the series with! More fans at the stadium and a close Braves win. Ynoa pitched great, and he had a good performance at the plate, too. He pitched six scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and two runs, with a total of five strikeouts. He had his first two major league hits in back-to-back at-bats. One was a double in the bottom of the third, and the other a laser-beam single in the bottom of the fourth. He also had an RBI. Overall it was a very good game for Braves pitcher, Huascar Ynoa! It was also a good day for the Braves at the plate. Especially with runners on with two outs. In fact, every run that the Braves offense scored was with two outs. Austin Riley started the Braves scoring off with a bang when he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second. The Braves hit another home run in this game, and it turned out to be a key factor in the Braves win. It was a solo shot hit into the upper-decks of the Chop House by none other than my man, Ozzie Albies! It made me very happy to see Ozzie’s bat come to life more in this game with a double and a home run. Hopefully that will continue and he will get hotter and hotter at the plate!

Game Two: Bryse Wilson vs. Zac Gallen, Braves lost 5-0

Doubleheader game one. The Braves normally preform very well in doubleheaders… not this time. In game one, to say the least, Bryse Wilson didn’t have his best stuff today. Then add in his two throwing errors on pickoff attempts at first base, his command was all over the place. He gave up three runs, two home runs, and four hits. He only went four innings. Grant Dayton pitched an inning for the Braves. He also surrendered two runs to the Diamondbacks. The one “good” thing for the Braves in this game was their only hit, and it was by MVP Freddie Freeman.

Game Three: Drew Smyly vs. Madison Bumgarner, Braves lost 7-0

Double header game two. This was Smyly’s first start after coming off the injured list, and he had to go up against Madison Bumgarner. Smyly didn’t have the greatest command of his pitches or control of the strike zone. He allowed five Diamondbacks to score in the top of the first inning, one in the third, and then Josh Tomlin gave up the seventh D-back run in the top of the sixth. Bumgarner threw a no-no against the Braves. He did not give up a Braves hit, he didn’t walk a single Braves player. Oh, and the threw all seven innings. The best part about this game was Ozzie Albies’ great over-the-shoulder, running catch in the top of the second. And that was about it.

Geez, this wasn’t how I wanted or expected this series to end. But hopefully the Braves will preform better and win the series against the Cubs!

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.

Braves Clinch the Eastern Division For the 3rd Straight Year!!

The Braves started off this series with the Miami Marlins with a close 5-4 victory, and last night the Braves pulled off another victory. But this one was EVEN BETTER… winning 11-1, the Atlanta Braves clinched the National League East for the third straight year. They have also made major league history, when they picked up their 20th Division Title.

GAME WRAP:

Bryce Wilson pitched tonight for the Braves and surprised us all with five scoreless innings and five strikeouts. Considering all of the struggles that the Braves’ rotation has gone through this 2020 season — first losing Soroka for the season, then losing Max Fried for a two weeks. Not to mention… Cole Hamels, who started the season on the IL for the Braves and made one start against the Orioles then went back on the IL and is most likely out for the postseason — our team has proven that we have the perserverance to play hard and win.

The Braves’ bats also came alive tonight! Marcell Ozuna – what a player! He got things started for the Braves tonight with a solo-home run in the first inning. He also sent a bomb out of the park in the eighth inning. He now leads the NL in home runs and RBIs. The Braves hit a total of five home runs tonight. Two by Ozuna, one by Ozzie Albies, one by Dansby Swanson, and one by MVP candidate Freddie Freeman!

Considering everything with COVID in 2020, this clinching celebration was different. But is wasn’t just different due to COVID. The Braves went into this season with a different mindset than the last couple of postseason runs. They went into Spring Training 2020 with the mindset of, “we are going to clinch the division this year and make it further into the post-season.”

Last year’s post-season run was disappointing. The Braves made it to game five after blowing game four against the St. Louis Cardinals. They gave up 10 runs in the first inning and ended their postseason run with a loss of 13-1. BUT… the Atlanta Braves -right now- are quite possibly going to face their postseason rivals the Cardinals in the Division Series, and the Braves have a different ending in mind than last time!

What a night it was for the Atlanta Braves! Clinching the NL East for the third year in a row and gaining their 20th division title is flat out amazing! The most division titles in in major league history.

Braves vs Mets Series Wrap

This was a good series for the Braves. It was also the last time the Braves will see the Mets until mid September.

Game one: Sean Newcomb vs Rick Porcello

This game was the best come-from-behind win I’ve ever seen! Not to mention, it was by far the best Braves game of the 2020 season (so far). Starting off to a good start, the Braves took the lead 2-0 in the bottom of the first. However, the Mets weren’t going down easily. After the Mets scored two in the top of the fourth, and having a six-run inning in the top of the fifth, the score was 8-2. Braves scored three in the bottom of the fifth making it an 8-5 game, but things still didn’t look good for the Braves. To make things worse, the Mets scored two more in the top of the sixth maiking it a 10-6 game. Yet the Braves – being the relentless team that they are – scored one in the bottom of the sixth and didn’t stop there! Dansby started the rally in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single. Then Travis d’Arnaud, a new addition for the Braves, came to life with a bases-clearing double and took the game to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL giving the Braves the lead 11-10, with which they won the game with.

Game two: Touki Toussaint vs. Michael Wacha

What a game for Braves fans and Ronald Acuña Jr.! With the rotation being uncertain, Touki showed great promise that he could pitch in the starting rotation. He may not go as many innings as Max Fried, but he showed some promise in this game. Pitching four scoreless innings, only allowing three hits, he showed improvement from the 2019 season. The only thing he needs to control more is his walk-to-strikeout-ratio, striking out five and walking three is this start.

Now on to some offense… Ronald Acuña Jr, what a game he had! Starting off slow in the start of the delayed 2020 season with a .184 batting average and striking out a bunch, this was his breakout game. With a double and two RBIs his bat finally came alive. But to make it even better… he hit an absolute bomb to left center feel giving him his first home run of the season! He was all smiles as he celebrated with the cardboard fans above the dugout. The Braves won this game 7-1. Marcell Ozuna also hit a home run, becoming a key player in the Braves’ every day lineup.

Game three: Kyle Wright vs. David Peterson

The Braves’ rotation still showed struggles in this game. Only going 3.1 innings it was a rough outing for Wright. Not to mention he didn’t pitch a clean inning and walked four guys. But the Braves relief corps showed excellence on the mound. Tyler Matzek pitched very well. Throwing two scoreless innings- only giving up two hits- he showed that he could very well become an important part in the bullpen, perhaps even making it to the starting rotation. The Braves were very good offensively tonight as well. Scoring two runs in the third, one in the fourth on a home run by Johan Camargo, his first of the year, and one in the eighth, the Braves ended up shutting out the Mets 4-0. Giving them a winning streak of five games.

Game four: Mike Soroka vs. Jacob DeGrom

This game’s starting pitchers brought on a rematch from Opening Day. Mike Soroka was looking to win the game but sadly, in the top of the third inning, running off the mound to try to field the ball, Mike Soroka tripped falling off the mound and had to be helped off the field in pain. After the game we learned that Mike tore his right Achilles and will be out for the remainder of the season. Prayers are with you Mike! And if that didn’t set the tone of the game enough, Jacob DeGrom had total control of the mound striking out ten Braves which ultimately helped the Mets win 7-2.

This was a good series, with the Braves coming out on top. The Braves team and fans are devastated by Soroka’s injury, and we are now left wondering what this loss will do to our season. But, Mike Soroka is a young guy with a lot left in his career. Right now, we just hope the Braves can come back from this loss, creating a new pitching rotation that will carry us through the season.

Braves Opening Day Series Wrap

With MLB FINALLY back… its time to enjoy some Braves baseball!

The Braves started the 2020 season in New York City against the New York Mets.

Game one: Mike Soroka vs. Jacob DeGrom

This game was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. With both teams’ aces on the mound, we expected a low scoring game and that’s what we got. Mike Soroka was excellent on the mound through his six scoreless innings, but one little slip up by Chris Martin gave the Mets’ designated hitter, Yoenis Céspedes a solo home run. This was the winning run for the Mets in the bottom of the seventh inning. Overall, even without a Braves win, it was just good to have baseball back!

Game two: Max Fried vs. Steven Matz

With the opening day loss on the Braves players and fans’ minds… the Braves gave us something to cheer for in this game! Adam Duvall was the FIRST Braves player of the 2020 season to hit a home run. It was a solo shot that hit a cardboard cutout in the top of the second inning to let the Braves score first to make the game 1-0. The Mets ended up taking the lead 2-1, and then Marcell Ozuna came up to the plate in the 9th inning. Down to his last strike in a 3-2 count, he let his bat do the talking. Crushing his first home run of the season to right center field, he tied the game and brought it into extra innings. With the new extra innings rule that the last batter to hit in the previous inning be placed on second, it did not take the Braves long to score. The Braves ended up winning this game 5-3 taking game two of the series.

Game three: Sean Newcomb vs. Rick Porcello

After coming off their first win of the season the night before, the Braves had winning on their minds again! Starting the game off with a bang, Ozzie Albies doubled and scored on a single by Matt Adams, then Dansby Swanson singled, and Freddie Freeman (reached base on a walk) scored to give the Braves a lead of 2-0 in the top of the first. The Braves didn’t stop there! Scoring Five more runs in the third inning, one in the fourth on a Dansby Swanson dinger, and one in the fith on a RBI double by Ozzie Albies, the Braves couldn’t lose. They had momentum, and it kept them hot for the rest of the game! Leading 10-1 in the top of the sixth inning, the Braves still weren’t done. Marcell Ozuna and Austin Riley both homered, giving the Braves a 12-1 lead. Austin Riley’s home run was SMOKED to left field going a whopping distance of 458-feet. And to make things worse for the Mets, Ozzie Albies CRUSHED a two-run shot to straight away center giving the Braves a winning score of 14-1.

This series for the Braves didn’t start out the greatest, but ended it a winning fashion!

GO BRAVES!

What we need in a new Third Baseman

With Josh Donaldson out of the picture, what’s next for the Atlanta Braves? 

Now that Josh Donaldson is with the Twins, the Braves have two spots to fill: a third baseman and a power batter to protect Freddie Freeman. 

The Braves signed Marcell Ozuna to a one year, 18-million-dollar contract. It looks like he may fill the middle-of-the lineup void, but is he the right man for the job? He produced four seasons with around 29 home runs. Ozuna is a left fielder, so while signing him gives us hope for a power hitter, it doesn’t give us a third basemen.  

What do we need in a third basemen? We need someone who can play every single day, that can play good defense, and can put up good numbers. 

It is most likely that Johan Camargo will begin the season as our third baseman. He played third base for the Braves in 2018 and put up good numbers and defensive stats. As for Austin Riley, he will most likely start the season in triple-A Gwinnett. If Austin can produce the numbers he did when he came up to the big leagues in 2019 and put up good defense, he will probably get a shot at third base, since that is his natural position. 

Unless the Atlanta Braves do a big Trade to get a top of the line Third basemen, I see Camargo and Riley as our only two contenders for third base.