My Thoughts on the Braves Loss in the NLDS Against Phillies:

To quote Brian Snitker, “It’s never over til it’s over.” And now, it’s over.

Honestly, it heartbreaking. I can’t imagine the feelings that the Atlanta Braves players and coaching staff are going through. They gave this 162-game season their all, and you could see that in every game. But, when Postseason baseball comes around, things change. It doesn’t matter how many wins you have, or how good you’ve been all year…what matters is how well you can play in a best-of-five series against a red-hot team. This year, the Braves had to face the Philadelphia Phillies, and quite frankly, they outplayed Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves are a really good team, there is no doubt about that, and they were very capable of winning. However, the Phillies came into this series against the Braves with a major spark and it carried them through. They were able to get hits when they needed to and had good strong pitching throughout the entire series.

The Braves never really had that spark. You could easily see that they wanted to win, and they had multiple chances to score and make that happen, they just couldn’t get the big hit. One of the moments that I think had a big impact on this series was in Game One when they left the bases loaded three times without scoring. You just cant let that happen – especially in a Postseason game.

Another issue was starting pitching. The starting rotation was never really 100% for the Braves in the NLDS. From Max Fried giving up 8 hits and 6 runs (only 4 of them were earned) in 3.1 innings, things didn’t look good. Add on Spencer Strider not being completely healthy and yet he pitched anyway and got into trouble, and then finally for poor Charlie Morton. Morton was pitching very well for the Braves in game four, but then he got a comebacker back to the mound that drilled him on his pitching elbow. He finished the inning and came back out for the inning after, but they had to pull him because things just weren’t looking right. This was hard to watch, not only because he was doing so well and has come up clutch in the Postseason, but because it brought back flashbacks from what happened down in Houston in game one of the World Series when a comebacker hit his lower leg and broke his fibula.

All in all, this Atlanta Braves team never truly seemed 100% healthy coming into the Postseason. With Ozzie Albies not being able to play, Ronald Acuña Jr. having some remaining knee problems, to Tyler Matzek having Tommy John Surgery the day of the NLDS, and other key components — it just wasn’t there for Atlanta.

Even though the Braves got eliminated much too soon, I have full confidence in this Atlanta’s Braves team. Next year they will come back and fight just like they did this year and years past. However, there are two looming questions facing the Braves… Will Dansby Swanson and Max Fried return? Obviously no one wants to see these two go. Fried has proven to be a stud in the starting rotation, and Swanson is a native Georgia-boy who has captivated the hearts of Braves country. No one wants to see either of these two go. Regarding Dansby, however, fans are a little more worried.

After Freddie Freeman signed with the Dodgers, it was made known that Freeman and Swanson had the same agent. Freeman fired his agent earlier this year but Swanson still has him. This automatically brings more concern regarding Dansby remaining a Brave, but I believe if he really truly wants to stay a Brave like he says, then he will accept the offer that the Atlanta Braves office gives him.

Only time will tell what’s going to happen, but right now the Braves are taking this one day at a time. Coming into the offseason they are going to rest, spend time with families, and then start preparing for the 2023 season to come. Only 4 months until Spring Training!

GO BRAVES!

It’s Time! The NLDS Braves vs Phillies Starts Today:

Postseason baseball has officially begun! The Wild Card series’ were full of much excitement and a lot of surprises. The Philadelphia Phillies swept the Saint Louis Cardinals and are now about to face off against the reigning World Series Champions: the Atlanta Braves.

This isn’t going to be an easy series for the Braves. The Phillies have shown to be a better team than most thought they were this year, and they have good hitters and some good starting pitchers. With all this to be said, I still believe the Braves are the better team. Atlanta has had almost a week of rest, and while some people think too much rest is a bad thing and can put them off their game, I think rest was just what the Braves have needed. The series that Atlanta played with the Mets was crucial, and I am sure it was both physically and mentally exhausting for the Braves players…they gave that series their all. And giving it their all is what they’re going to have to do throughout the Postseason.

Starting pitching wise, the Braves have a solid rotation. Max Fried has been announced to start game one, and I think they’ll start Kyle Wright in game two and most likely Charlie Morton for game three. Spencer Strider could have the possibility of starting in the NLDS, but I don’t think the Braves will rush him into pitching. They will want him completely healed and without risk of injuring himself worse.

The Braves have a good bullpen. We have seen them be lights-out countless times this season. Those pitchers have A+ stuff. We have seen them pitch in high leverage situations and come out on the winning side…we especially saw this in the decisive Braves vs. Mets series. The one thing that is going to bring some concern is the closing role in the bullpen. That role belongs to Kenley Jansen. Kenley has had his ups and downs this season, but he has come through when the games have mattered the most. We can only hope to see him bring those same results as we enter the Postseason.

Offensively, we known the Braves have a LOT of power. They can hit the home run ball left and right. However, they are going to need more than home runs to carry them through the Postseason. Small ball is important in any baseball game, but it is even bigger in Postseason games. Getting on base, moving runners over, and scoring is what matters most. Yes, you can score with a home run, and they are loud and exciting, but you have to be able to score runs without a home run. You have to be able to take advantage of pitchers “slip-ups” such as walks. There are only so many runners you can leave on base without it coming back to bite you in a huge way. This will be something for the Braves to start to do more of as we begin Postseason baseball.

The Atlanta Braves have superb defense. The infield especially is quite impressive. This is something that has helped Atlanta throughout the entire season. Having a good defense behind your pitchers is something you can’t take for granted. The Braves defense always seems to come through in huge situations. We saw this in last year’s Postseason and time and time again this season.

Everything is set at a higher standard in the Postseason. It’s the best of the best battling against one another to avoid elimination and come out on top as Champions. We saw the Atlanta Braves do this last year, and they are just as capable to do it again this year. It will be an exciting Postseason run this year and the Braves won’t go down without a fight!

One more thing to add. Ozzie Albies, who fractured his right pinky ringer in mid-September against the Phillies, just two days after returning from a foot injury, is now out of his cast. This is a huge step for Albies who has the potential of making a Postseason return. This is another aspect of that extra week of rest from clinching the Division that has played so well in the Braves favor. Ozzie Albies will have to regain some strength in his hand after being in a cast, and the Braves coaching staff will be cautious with him, not wanting to risk another injury to their young superstar. On another note regarding Albies, it was announced today that he will be traveling with the Braves for the NLDS and will participate in on-the-field activities and workouts with the team. All of these are huge steps in the right direction, and I know that the team and all of Braves country would be over the moon to see Albies come back in the Postseason!

GO BRAVES!!

Crucial Series Against the Mets Starts Friday for the Braves:

With a devastating loss to the Washington Nationals in extra innings on Wednesday night, the Atlanta Braves are 1.0 games out of first place. This loss is going to prove to be very significant. If the Braves had won that game, they would be tied for first place with the Mets in the NL East. But since they lost, they are once again behind the Mets and are going to have to fight very hard in this upcoming series.

The Mets have been a tough opponent for Atlanta this year, and this series is going to be no different with two first-place-worthy teams going head to head in the final week of the season. The Braves will be on their home field and the games have been sold out for months It will feel like major postseason games over this weekend.

Unfortunately, the Braves are at a small disadvantage. They have to win more games to have a chance to clinch the Division. This is where that loss against the Nationals is really starting to bite, because if they had won we wouldn’t be 1.0 games out of first. If they Mets were to sweep the Braves, they would clinch, and the Braves would be in the Wild Card. If the Mets won two out of three of the games, their magic number would be at one going into a series against the last place Washington Nationals. Even if the Mets were to win just ONE of the games in this series, they will win the series season and if it were to come down to a tie breaker (which that looks like what is going to happen) then the Mets would be given first place.

If the Braves were to sweep the Mets, the division title would swing back into the Braves’ favor with a 2.0 game first place lead over the Mets. If they were to win 2 out of three of the games, they would have a realistic shot of clinching the division for a fifth straight year. However, it will all depend on how the Braves play against the Miami Marlins after the Mets leave town, and how the Mets play against the Washington Nationals.

The pitching for this series is going to be something else. Atlanta’s best vs the Mets’ best. The starting rotation for this series will look like this unless something were to change:

FRIDAY: Max Fried vs. Jacob DeGrom

SATURDAY: Kyle Wright vs. Max Scherzer

SUNDAY: Charlie Morton vs. Chris Bassitt

This is going to be a very stressful, very exciting series. It’s games like these that make baseball such a great sport. You can play an entire season and have a truckload of wins, but it all comes down to a few, high-intensity games against your rival to determine who will come out on top.

Yes, if the Braves don’t win the division, they will still be guaranteed Postseason berth via the Wild Card. However, you want to win the Division because, not only does it prove your capabilities as a team, but it also gives you a week’s worth of rest since you wouldn’t have to play in a three game Wild Card series to move on in the Postseason. Instead, after the break you would go straight to the NLDS and play the winner of the first NL Wild Card. Also, if the Braves were to win the Division, they would not have to play the Dodgers in the NLDS. The Braves would play the winner of the second NL Wild Card and wait and see if they would end up playing the Dodgers in the NLCS if both teams make it that far.

Overall, there is some big advantages to winning your Division. I’m not quite sure how things are going to play out, but I have faith that the Braves are capable of winning the Division and proving themselves once again in the Postseason. However, if they were to sadly not win the Division for the fifth straight year, I also have faith that they can take care of business in the Postseason. After all, we’ve seen them do it before. 😉

GO BRAVES!!

Braves Have Been Playing Great Baseball, but it Has Come With Yet Another Devastating Blow:

Coming off a long road trip to the West Coast, you could tell that the Atlanta Braves were ready to be back home in front of their home crowd. Counting last night’s win against the Nationals, Atlanta has won nine home games in a row.

The Braves played some of their best baseball in this past series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Part of that was due to the LONG awaited return of second baseman and fan-favorite, Ozzie Albies. He had been out for three months with a fractured foot, and he returned to the lineup on Friday, September 16th. He was received very happily by his teammates and the fans at Truist Park gave him a standing ovation. And when he had his two out, two-run double the fans went crazy. It was great to have Ozzie back. He truly makes the team complete. He provides the energy they need to win ballgames.

However, ill fate was awaiting Ozzie. On Saturday, September 17, in just his second game back, Ozzie Albies was advancing to second base on a fly-out by Eddie Rosario. He slid into second base hands first, and after he slid he stayed hunched over the base. Then and there, all of Braves Country felt a pit form in their stomach, and after watching the replay, things didn’t look good. Ozzie stayed in that inning and ran the bases, but once he got into the dugout he immediately went into the clubhouse to get his hand checked out. Ozzie Albies will miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured right pinky finger. This news is devastating. After all that hard work he did recovering from a fractured foot, he fractured his finger less than two days after returning to send him back to the IL. I’m not entirely sure how his finger got fractured. To me, it looked like Phillies second baseman, Jean Segura might have stepped on Ozzie’s finger by accident, or Ozzie slid into his foot. Either way, it’s a heartbreaking situation. But hopefully, Ozzie will remain in the dugout and cheer on his teammates from there, although he would much rather be on the field playing the game he loves.

Atlanta’s offense has hit a spark since they came home. 1-9 each batter was coming through in one situation or another. Even Matt Olson broke out of his hitless streak and recorded two hits last night. And Ronald Acuña Jr. looked like his old self against the Phillies. He hit a home run in back to back games and played superb defense.

Pitching for the Braves has looked much better, too. The starting rotation did well, making the pitches they need to and kept the Phillies scoreless most of the time. Even relief pitching was lights-out. Collin McHugh pitched well – even pitching two innings in the same game. And Kenley Jansen, who we have seen struggle of late, has come in as closer and been lights-out. He hasn’t gotten into any trouble and hasn’t walked anyone. Hopefully he’s figured out what his problem was and made the necessary changes.

The Atlanta braves are a very fun team to watch. They are currently 1.0 game out of first place in the National League East, and are playing fantastic baseball. If they can keep this up, they have a real shot at beating the Mets in the Eastern division. And when the Mets come to town next week, Truist park is going to be rocking. It is going to be some serious competition and hopefully the Braves will come out on top!

GO BRAVES!!

Braves Reinstate Ozzie Albies From the IL!!

Ozzie Albies in Stripers uniform on 9/13/22

This is the long awaited news all of Braves Country has been anticipating, and now it’s finally happened.

After witnessing Ozzie’s 5-for-5 night on Tuesday in Gwinnett, it was safe to say he was ready to come back and join Atlanta. My mom and I even got to talk to Ozzie at the Gwinnett Stripers game and asked him if he was ready to be back with Atlanta. His answer was, “Oh yes, so ready!”

And today, he’s back!

Getting Ozzie’s signature!

What Needs to Happen for the Braves Coming Down the Stretch:

With less than a month of baseball left, the Atlanta Braves are coming down an important stretch. They have been playing very well throughout the season and especially in the month of August, but the past few series’ for the Braves have been tough. Yes, they have been playing “easier” teams, but for some reason, those teams are always harder wins for the Braves. Atlanta is currently 1.5 games out of first place. Just two days ago they were 0.5 games in first place, but they lost two games that they should have won — unfortunately blown by the bullpen and our offense couldn’t come through.

Pitching wise for the Braves has hit an overall rough patch. Lately, the starting rotation hasn’t been as sharp as we have gotten so used to. Even Atlanta’s ace, Max Fried, has been struggling of late. And as for the bullpen, it is mainly the closer role that is drawing concern. Kenley Jansen either has his good games, super stressful games, or bad games. And lately, he’s had more bad games than good. He blew a game on Sunday against the Seattle Mariners that the Braves should have won. It’s just been a frustrating run for him lately, which leaves some concern for the Braves’ closer role with only a certain amount of games left. And it cannot be overstated how very important these games are.

Offensively, the Braves are still hitting their home runs, and driving runners in, but they are leaving so many missed opportunities. Yes, Atlanta’s offense hits a LOT of home runs, but you can’t rely on those to win ballgames. You have to play small-ball. You have to move runners over, take your walks, and score when you need to score. We have seen the Braves leave the bases loaded with one out or two outs too many times this year, and sooner or later that is going to come back and haunt you when you’re in a close division race and need to win ballgames. What I think needs to happen for the Braves is that they just need to make contact with the ball and be patient at the plate. Make the opposing pitchers work. Take balls, work in the count, and get hits. I feel like some of the Braves players are so focused on hitting home runs or getting that “big hit” that they miss opportunities to score a run or reach base so the next guy can get a hit to score some runs.

Hopefully the Atlanta Braves will work out these little hiccups, and soon. The Braves are a good baseball team and we know what they are capable of. It is just a matter of if they can figure out what is causing these hiccups and improve their weaknesses. I believe they can do this! And, as a glimpse of hope, Ozzie Albies should be returning within the next week or so. His bat will provide some spark in the Braves lineup, not to mention his smile and positive impact on our whole team!

GO BRAVES!!

Ozzie Albies Has Begun His Rehab Assignment!

These are words I have been waiting for since June 13th when Ozzie Albies fractured his foot up in Washington D.C. against the Nationals — Ozzie is playing again! It has been a long road for sure, but now things are looking brighter.

In late August, Ozzie began traveling with the Braves team and started ramping up his baseball activities by taking batting practice, running the bases, and doing his defensive drills with third base coach, Ron Washington.

Then, On September first, Ozzie played in his first rehab game with the Gwinnett Stripers (Triple-A). He served as the DH and was 0-4, but nonetheless it was good to see him back in a baseball uniform and lineup. On September second, Ozzie played in another game with the Stripers, once again as the Designated Hitter. He went 2-3, which was a significant improvement from the day before and was a great sign of progress.

Ozzie will begin to play second base this week, and they will continue to increase the load of work he will be doing throughout the week and during the rest of his rehab assignment. There is no clear date as to when Ozzie Albies will return, but I believe he will be back within 1-2 weeks, depending on how comfortable the Braves and their training staff are with his rehab.

It will be very exciting to see Ozzie back playing a Major League game. The Braves certainly haven’t been the same without him. Not only on the field, but he has been missed in the dugout. Ozzie brings such life and fun to the team, and I believe, he makes them a better team because of it. With his infectious smile, positive attitude, and his superb baseball playing, Ozzie Albies will be welcomed back very happily. Not only by the Atlanta Braves, but also by all of Braves Country.

GO BRAVES!!

A Red-Hot August for the Atlanta Braves:

The month of August has been a very good one for the Braves. They have played all-around very good baseball, and have gained significant ground in the NL East.

At the beginning of August, the Braves lost four out of five against the Mets, bringing them 7.5 games out of first place, which caused some concern. However, the Braves did not let that bring them down, and they had a huge bounce back when they played the Mets at home the following week.

Atlanta pitching has been great this month. Charlie Morton has found his groove, Max Fried is continuing to be his superstar self, Kyle Wright has been very good, and Spencer Strider has been downright impressive. Even Jake Odorizzi has had a bounce back…he won his first game as a Brave Monday night against the Pittsburg Pirates.

The bullpen has been lights-out. How the bullpen is pitching right now, is how I have expected it to be since the beginning of the season. Everyone has been able to come in during high-leverage situations and manage to get out of them, while also maintaining close leads late in the games — which is super important especially as we near the postseason.

Offensively for the Braves, they have been extremely impressive. It seems that every game 1-9 in the lineup is contributing some way. Whether it’s a sac-fly to score a run, a groundout to move the runner over, a home run, or a pinch-hit walk-off single – the Braves hitters are getting it done. It’s very fun to watch them come through in ways you’d never expect and get the big hits we need with runners in scoring position.

Also, defensively, Atlanta has been outstanding. When you hear the word “error” and “Atlanta Braves” in the same sentence, it does not sound right. As a team, the Braves had made 56. I know that sounds like a large number, but compared to the Pittsburg Pirates who have made 85 errors in the same amount of games, it’s really not that high. The Atlanta infield is quite impressive. Even Grissom has proved to be quite a good fielder, although he is not near as good as their normal second baseman, Ozzie Albies. And let me just say…if Dansby Swanson does not win the Gold Glove this year, or finish in the top three of Gold Glove voting, he will have been robbed. His defense has been superb all year long!

The Atlanta braves are just a fun, exciting team to watch! They always put up a fight and don’t give up easily. Coming into today’s game, the Atlanta Braves are 3.0 games out of first place. That is very manageable, as long as the Braves keep winning the majority of games they play, and the Mets lose some, too. 😉

It will be very exciting to see what happens down the stretch come September.

GO BRAVES!!

Michael Harris ll and Vaughn Grissom’s Big Impact With the Braves:

Looking back on the Atlanta Braves at the beginning of the 2022 season, things looked a little different than they do now. Two things that sticks out the most are Adam Duvall was in center field, and Ozzie Albies was at second base. Unfortunately, injury plagued the Braves. On June 12th, against the Washington Nationals, Ozzie Albies broke his foot during a freak accident running out of the batters box, and on July 24th the Braves lost Adam Duvall for the rest of the season after he tore tendons in his hand when he ran into the wall at home against the Los Angeles Angles. It’s also important to remember that the Braves were already without Eddie Rosario for almost all of the first half and some of the second half of the season due to eye surgery.

The Braves brought up Michael Harris ll from the Mississippi Braves (AA) on May 28th. He immediately made an impact with the Braves team. He is very skilled defensively and can cover a TON of ground in center field. Not to mention, there is life in his bat! He always gives Atlanta a quality at-bat, gets good hits, and crushes in the home run ball. And, he is very fast! He hasn’t been thrown out stealing a base yet…he is 13-for-13 in steals so far! He has been very exciting to watch, and I’m sure he will continue to make an impact with the Braves team throughout the rest of the season.

Vaughn Grissom was brought up from the Mississippi Braves (AA) on August 10th. He was brought up because, when the Braves were playing the Red Sox in Boston, Orlando Arcia strained his hamstring in an extra inning game on August 9th. Atlanta does not know when he will be back. However, Grissom made quite the impression for the Braves and Braves country in his debut. His first Major League hit was a two-run home run against the Red Sox and it went over the Green Monster in left field. Grissom has proven he has much power in his bat, and for a young player, he has very good AB’s at the plate and is very good defensively. He is a shortstop by trade so he has a good arm, and is putting up good defensive numbers so far at second base. Obviously he’s not Ozzie Albies, and once Ozzie is ready to return he will be back at second base every single day. But Grissom has been a good fill-in.

A fun fact about both Harris and Grissom is that they were teammates and best friends in Double-A Mississippi. It has been fun to see them both playing for the same Major League team and watch their friendship in the ballpark. They have a super cool handshake and are often caught goofing off in the dugout.

Hopefully, these two will continue to impress the Braves and bring life to the team for the remainder of the season. The Atlanta Braves are coming down a crucial set of games and they will need their team, both offensively and defensively to be on their A-game. It will be exciting and nerve-racking to watch for sure!

GO BRAVES!!

A Devastating Blow: Braves lose Ozzie Albies With Fractured Foot

On Monday, June 13th, during the fifth inning, Ozzie Albies was up to bat against Washington National pitcher Steve Cisheck. In a 3-2 count, he took an inside out swing on a ball that was on the inside of the plate. Attempting to run out of the batter’s box, Ozzie appeared to trip. He then immediately fell onto the ground in pain. Being the tough player that he is, he was able to gingerly walk himself off the field, but had to be assisted down the dugout steps.

It wasn’t exactly clear how he hurt himself, but from what I could tell, when he was starting to run out of the batter’s box, his left leg gave way and it twisted as he fell. Immediately after he got into the dugout, he was replaced by Orlando Arcia and evaluated by the training staff. We later found out that Ozzie fractured his left foot in that freaky incident.

This morning, Wednesday June 14th, Ozzie was placed on the 60-day IL and will be out until at least mid-August.

Ozzie Albies provides such a huge spark to the Atlanta Braves’ club. Not only on the field and batting, but also when he is in the dugout and showing his infectious smile all throughout the game. He provides so much joy to this club on a daily basis.

In his absence, Orlando Arcia and veteran Phil Gosselin, who the Braves called up this morning from Triple-A, are going to have some big shoes to fill.

While it’s going to make an impact for the Braves without his bat in the lineup and his superb defense at second base, we also have to take into account the impact it is going to have on Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Swanson and Albies have been together in the Atlanta organization for six years, since Double A. They have grown into a defensive duo bond that few second baseman and shortstops seem to have. Since Ozzie made his debut in 2017, he and Dansby have been shortstop and second baseman along side one another that entire time. They get how each other likes to work and because of that, they know how to throw the baseball, cover the bag, etc. to where it serves both of their best interests. I’m sure it will take Dansby Swanson, as well as the other Braves fielders a little bit of time to get used to someone else playing second base. But at the end of the day, things like this happen and you’ve got to be prepared for it.

The Atlanta Braves are currently riding a 12-game win streak. For these twelve games, they looked to be untouchable and that nothing could stop them. But, as unfortunate as it is, the injury-bug finally got to them and they will be without their All-Star second baseman for most, if not all, of the summer.

It will be odd watching the Braves play without Ozzie Albies, but hopefully he will have a speedy recovery and will return better than ever.

GO BRAVES!