Braves vs. Reds Series Wrap

Another series win for the Atlanta Braves! It seems like things are finally -FINALLY – starting to click for the Braves. Not only do they have a wining record, but they are playing better baseball and are winning multiple games in a row.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Sonny Gray, Braves won 3-2

Drew Smyly pitched very well for the Braves. He went six innings, allowed only two hits, two runs, two walks, and he had seven strikeouts. Smyly never really got into any trouble. After he gave up a two-run home run in the top of the second inning, he was lights out. He had good command of the strike zone, didn’t have many full counts, and had control over his pitches.

To get the Cincinnati Reds on the board, Aristides Aquino, the Reds young outfielder, hit a two run home run in the second inning.

In the bottom of the fourth inning after two quick outs from Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson reared base on a walk. With two out and one on, Adam Duvall was up to bat. On the very first pitch he saw…Duvall hit it out of the ballpark for a two-run homer and made it a tied game 2-2.

Atlanta scored their third and final run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Austin Riley led off that inning with a first-pitch single, Dansby Swanson followed Riley with a walk. To make the first out of the inning, Adam Duvall had a strikeout. So with one out, Joc Pederson walked to load the bases. Stephen Vogt drew a bases loaded walk to make it a 3-2 game.

The Braves’ bullpen was able to hold onto a tight lead late, and that led Atlanta to a game one victory.

Game Two: Touki Toussaint vs. Wade Miley, Braves won 8-6

Whew. What a game! It was an especially great game for Ozzie Albies. 🙂 and it was GREAT to see Braves catcher, Travis d’Arnaud back on the field. He was certainly missed!

Touki Toussaint pitched five innings. He allowed four hits, two runs, three walks, and he had five strikeouts. Toussaint didn’t have a bad outing. He just ran into some trouble a couple times. Luckily, he didn’t surrender more than two runs. Touki could’ve possibly pitched later into the game, but his high pitch-count of 97 is what ultimately drove him out of the game.

Bottom of the first inning. Ozzie Albies led off the inning with a single. Jorge Soler walked-in the next at-bat. After Freeman flew out on the first pitch he saw, Austin Riley was up to bat. Austin hit a booming RBI double into center field. Ozzie easily scored from second base. Soler tried to score, but he was thrown out to make the second out of the inning. But the Braves still got on the board making it a 1-0 game.

Bottom of the second inning. Adam Duvall leads of the inning with a walk. Travis d’Arnaud lined out to make the first out of the inning. It was SO good to see Travis back on the field! He missed 86 games with a torn ligament in his left thumb. With one out, Guillermo Heredia was up to bat. He hit a two-run dinger into the seats in left center field. His home run extended Atlanta’s lead, 3-0.

Bottom of the third inning. Freddie Freeman led off the inning with a single. Austin Riley hit another double that scored Freeman. Freddie was originally called out at home plate, but after review, it was overturned and Freeman was safe! That made it 4-0 Braves. Austin scored on a sac fly by Swanson to make it a 5-0 Atlanta lead.

In the top of the sixth inning, Cincinnati got on the board. Joey Votto hit a two-run shot making it a 5-2 game. In the top of the eighth inning, Eugenio Suarez hit an RBI double making it a 5-3 game.

Top of the ninth inning: Atlanta needs three outs to win the game. Will Smith is on the mound and things don’t look good. He got the first out of the inning, but then hit Nick Castellanos with a pitch. On the very next pitch he threw, Will Smith surrendered a two-run home run to Joey Votto – his second of the game. That tied the game at 5-5. Smith got out of the inning without surrendering anymore runs, but not before blowing the game.

The Braves didn’t score in the bottom of the ninth inning, and neither team scored in the tenth inning.

Top of the eleventh inning: **remember the new extra-innings rule automatically places a runner on second base for each team** Edgar Santana is pitching for Atlanta. The first batter he faced was Kyle Farmer. He gave up an RBI single that scored the runner from second base and made it a 6-5 game, Cincinnati on top. Santana was able to get out of the inning without giving up any more runs.

Bottom of the eleventh inning: Adam Duvall is the runner placed on second for the Braves. d’Arnaud and Heredia made the first two outs of the inning, and then Joc Pederson walked to keep the game alive. It was all up to Ozzie Albies. With two outs, Ozzie worked a 2-1 count. On the fourth pitch of his AB, he crushed an absolute BOMB into the Chop House seats for a WALK-OFF three-run home run!!!

It was amazing. Not only did Ozzie walk it off for Atlanta…but my man started and ended the game with a hit.

Game Three: Kyle Muller vs. Vladimir Gutierrez, Braves lost 12-3

I think it’s safe to say that this game didn’t go how anyone in Braves country thought it would. Kyle Muller had been producing such solid starts for Atlanta. But this was not one of those.

Over just 2.1 innings, Muller allowed five hits, six runs, three walks, and he only had one strikeout. It’s clear to say he did not have his best stuff. His pitches were all over the place, and he didn’t have good command. He kept getting himself into trouble and couldn’t get out of it.

Despite their blow-out loss, Atlanta scored the first run of the game. It came in the bottom of the first on a Dansby Swanson RBI-single that scored Jorge Soler who reached base on a walk earlier in the inning. Swanson’s RBI single made it a 1-0 game Braves on top.

That lead did not last long. In the top of the second inning, Reds left fielder, Jesse Winker hit a grand slam to make it a 4-1 game. They scored FIVE more runs in the top of the third inning making it a 9-1 game. Cincinnati made it an 11-1 game in the top of the sixth when Kyle Farmer hit a two run homer.

In the bottom of the seventh inning; my man- Ozzie Albies hit a solo home run. It went a long way, and even though the Braves were still down nine, it gave the fans and the team something to celebrate. His homer made it an 11-2 game.

The Reds scored their twelfth and final run in the top of the ninth inning. It came from Tyler Stephenson against Edgar Santana, and it was the first pitch thrown that inning. That made it a 12-2 game.

In the bottom of the ninth inning Joc Pederson scored on a wild pitch to make it a 12-3 game.

This was a good series for Atlanta- they have started rolling and winning consecutive games in a row. This is leading them in the right direction, and if they can keep this up they will have a great chance of making the postseason!

A Wrap of the Braves First Half of the Season

To say the least, it was a chaotic, unstable, and disappointing first half for the Atlanta Braves. They did not end the first half of the season with a winning record, let alone a .500 record. They entered the All-Star break with a losing record of 44-45.

Inconsistency was a big factor in that. Their pitching was all over the place – especially the bullpen. In their starting rotation, Charlie Morton was the only reliable one. And that is still somewhat true coming into this second half of the season. Drew Smyly has gotten more consistent, as well as Max Fried and Ian Anderson. But Atlanta’s bullpen was, and is, the main problem. Their bullpen couldn’t keep a Braves’ lead in a tight scoring game or keep the run differential close in a situation where the Braves were losing. Another problem that their pitching staff has is that they walk WAY too many batters. It seems almost every time pitchers walk a guy, they come back and score. Walks will always come back to haunt a pitcher. They’ve also had some closer problems: AJ Minter and Will Smith. They come on to pitch in the ninth inning, and it seems like they try to find a way to blow the game. They walk batters, give up home runs, allow hits and runs galore. This season they have given up almost 30 hits, 30 runs, and over 20 walks. They doesn’t pitch every single day, but those aren’t the numbers you want to see from your closers.

The Braves have also been tortured with injuries. The most significant of those would be the most recent: Ronald Acuña Jr. is out of the rest of the season. And, of course, his season-ending injury came against the Miami Marlins. In game two of the most recent series played with Miami (July 10th), Acuña was trying to field a well-hit ball at the warning track in right field. He ran full speed towards the baseball in mid-air and missed. He then fell and put all of his body weight on his right knee, which buckled under all the pressure. He then collapsed, and after being carted off the field, he was examined and he’d torn his right ACL. He had to have immediate surgery, and he will miss the rest of the 2021 season.

Atlanta will now have to finish their 2021 season without their young superstar. Obviously things will be different offensively and defensively, but I don’t think this takes them out of postseason chances. The Braves will just have to work harder and play a better. And if they do make it to the postseason, it will prove just how good this Atlanta Braves team really is.

Another injury- which turned into a shocking blow, came in the month of May. This came from Marcell Ozuna. On May 26th, against the Boston Red Sox, Ozuna fractured two fingers sliding into third base. He was sent to Atlanta for examination and treatment. Three days later, on May 29th an article was released that he had been arrested for domestic family violence. That was certainly a shocking and unexpected blow for the Braves. Not only is he hurt and won’t be able to play this season… but he was arrested, and got out of jail not too long ago. So he is definitely done for this season, if not for the rest of his career.

The Braves also lost Travis d’Arnaud to a torn left thumb ligament. He tore it on May 1st and has been on the injured list since. Hopefully he can come back in mid-August. He is such a good player, and it’s a shame for him to not be able to play.

The final injury that I’m going to discuss is that of Huascar Ynoa. Ynoa had pitched some with the Braves in relief during the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but his career as a starting pitcher really began this season. And boy, was he impressive! In fact, he was probably the best pitcher Atlanta had AND he could hit. In seventeen at-bats, he had six hits, and two home runs – one of witch was a grand slam. A GRAND SLAM!! He was beyond impressive at the plate and on the mound.

However, after a frustrating start on the mound for Huascar, he went into the Braves dugout and punched the bench. Nothing was said of it during the game in mid-May. But after his hand was evaluated, he had broken it. So disappointing. He was such an impressive young player and had (hopefully still has) such a great career ahead of him. He was, is, and will be missed by the Braves. Ynoa’s return date isn’t clear, but it is not expected until after the middle of August.

Although the Braves had many struggles and hard times in the first half of the season, they had shining moments that gave us hope that the Atlanta Braves we know and love are still with us!

Up to his season-ending injury, Ronald Acuña Jr. had an amazing season. He hit twenty-four home runs… TWENTY-FOUR! That is an insane amount. Multiple players across MLB don’t hit that many home runs in an entire 162-game season. He definitely had some sparks coming off his bat almost every time he was at the plate. Acuña was to make his second All-Star Game appearance as a starter this year, but obviously his injury robbed him of that great opportunity. He also led all of MLB players in All-Star votes. Wow!

Ozzie Albies had a great first half to his 2021 season. No, he hasn’t hit as many home runs as Acuña, nor is he the “face of the franchise,” but he is just as good – if not better than Acuña. He leads the Braves in RBI’s with 63, and he leads them in doubles with 27. Not only is Ozzie impressive at the plate, he is extremely impressive on the field. His defensive skills are through the roof! He may be smaller than everyone else… but he can run fast, field well, and make super hard plays look easy. My Ozzie is a consistent, reliable player that the Braves can count on. He was also voted into the All-Star game – and he got to play! It was his second appearance, and he wasn’t a starter, even though he should have been. Albies is such a fun player to watch, and I can’t wait to see what he continues to bring for Atlanta the rest of the season!

Freddie Freeman got off to a very, very slow first few weeks for Atlanta, but he finally started to heat up and look like the MVP Freddie we are used too. Coming into the break (and even now out of the break) his bat was hot. He was hitting extra base hits galore. Before his bat came to life, all he did was walk…or strikeout. Freeman was also awarded the honor of being in the All-Star game. It was his fifth All-Star appearance, and he was a starter.

There are SO MANY good things that have happened already for the Braves this season – even with them having a losing record and their struggles. However, with their two newly added players: outfielder Joc Pederson and catcher Stephen Vogt, I believe that Atlanta will hit a streak where everything starts to click and they will get to a winning record. They really need to put some major pressure on the first place Mets in the NL East.

Braves vs. Pirates Series Wrap

Well, I think it’s safe to say, this series did not go anything like we expected – or how it should have gone. The Braves lost the first two games, and won the third. If they had swept the Pittsburg Pirates they would have had a winning record. Atlanta now has to win two games against the Marlins to have a 44-44 record, or if they sweep the Fish, they will have a winning record going into the All-Star break.

Game One: Max Fried vs. Chase De Jong, Braves lost 11-1

Max Fried did not have is best outing. I mean he did hit a walk-off the day before, but still. He pitched five innings, allowed seven hits, six runs, two walks, and he had five strikeouts. The first four innings he pitched weren’t bad, he just ran into trouble in the fifth and couldn’t get himself out of it.

Fried’s underwhelming outing left the rest of game one in the hands of Atlanta’s shaky bullpen. Josh Tomlin came out of the bullpen for the Braves in the seventh inning and gave up five more runs to give the Pirates a grand total of eleven runs. Tomlin has not had that great of a season so far for Atlanta. Normally he is lights-out and can go multiple innings, but this year he is having trouble completing one inning without giving up a least one run.

The Braves did score one run – they actually scored it in the top of the first inning! Ronald Acuña Jr. lead off the game with a single, and then Freddie Freeman drove him in with a double. The Pirates right fielder, Phillip Evans, couldn’t pick up the baseball and make the throw to attempt to keep Acuña from scoring. I’m not entirely sure if Acuña would have scored if Evans hadn’t made an error – but we’ll never know.

Game Two: Ian Anderson vs. Chad Kuhl, Braves lost 2-1

Ian Anderson did not pitch a bad game at all. He only went five innings, but he had a high pitch count of 91 pitches – so I’m assuming that’s why Snitker took him out. In those five innings he pitched, he gave up five hits, one run, three walks, and had four strikeouts. So, overall, it really wasn’t a bad outing; he just threw a lot of pitches.

The Braves scored their one and only run in the top of the fifth inning on a solo home run by our left fielder, Orlando Arcia. He hit that baseball a long way into the seats in left center field, getting the Braves on the board.

Up till the ninth inning, Atlanta’s pitching was great. Both the starting pitcher and the relief pitchers were able to keep it a tie game at 1-1.

However, it’s baseball. And someone is bound to win one way or another. In the bottom ninth inning, Tyler Maztek was sent onto the mound for the Braves to send them into extra innings. That did NOT happen. Maztek walked the first batter he faced, gave up a single to the next, and another walk to load the bases with Pirates. There was no one out. At this point you knew that Pittsburg was going to win, and sure enough they did. With a four pitch, bases-loaded walk, to Bryan Reynolds the Pirates won the game 2-1. Out of all the ways that the Braves could have allowed the Pirates to walk it off, a bases-loaded walk is the worst. They didn’t even have to work for their win. All they had to do was stand at the plate, with a bat in their hands, and watch the balls go into the dirt.

Game Three: Drew Smyly vs. Wil Crowe, Braves won 14-3

Finally. The Braves won, and they beat out some anger against the Pirates. All throughout this 2021 season, the Braves haven’t clicked on all cylinders. Some days pitching is great and the offense isn’t – or vise versa. In this game, the pitching AND the offense were great for Atlanta, and the result of that was even better: a Braves win! One thing to note before we dive into this Braves win – Ozzie Albies was taken out of this game after popping out in the top of the fifth inning. Nothing is seriously wrong with him, (thank goodness!). Brian Snitker took him out of the game as a precaution because he was dealing with neck tightness. Obviously, knowing the type of player my Ozzie is, he did not want to be taken out of that game. But, in the end, he was taken out to play it safe and not risk him getting seriously hurt and have to miss more than just a game or two. And, of course, Ozzie has to be healthy for his All Star appearance next week!

Drew Smyly didn’t have his best outing for the Braves, but it wasn’t awful; he still got the win. Smyly went five innings, allowed nine hits, three runs, three walks, and he had four strikeouts. The three runs he gave up, which were the only three runs the Pirates scored, came in the bottom of the first inning on a three-run home run by Jacob Stallings. Other than that he, and the Atlanta Braves bullpen for that matter, were lights out.

The Braves scored their first run on an RBI single by Austin Riley. He scored Ozzie Albies who had a hustle double before him. Going into the third inning, the Braves are down 3-1. Ronald Acuña Jr. brought Atlanta one run closer when he belted a solo home run into left center field, making it a 3-2 game.

To start off the sixth inning for Atlanta, Dansby Swanson led off with a walk. He stole second base and then Guillermo Heredia followed him with a walk. The Braves newly acquired catcher, Jonathan Lucroy had a sacrifice bunt to advance Swanson to third and Heredia to second. On the very next pitch of the ballgame, Abraham Almonte, fresh off the bench, hit a two-RBI single, giving the Braves the lead at 4-3. Almonte’s base hit brought Acuña up, with one out. He had a single, which was followed by a groundout by Freeman to make the second out. Then, to load the bases with Braves, Ehire Adrianza walked. Adrianza was in brought in the game to fill in for Ozzie. So, with the bases loaded, Austin Riley was up. He walked, which allowed Swanson to score, extending their lead to 5-3. Orlando Arcia extended the Braves lead again with a two-RBI single, making it 7-3 all Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves added their final offensive blow on the Pirates in the top of the eighth inning. To lead off the inning, Adrianza had a single. Austin Riley followed him with a lineout. So, with one out, Ender Inciarte was up to bat. He had an RBI double to score Adrianza and make it 8-3. Dansby scored Ender with an RBI double, making it 9-3. Heredia had a groundout to make the second out. Jonathan Lucroy kept the Braves alive with a RBI single which scored Swanson and made it 10-3 Atlanta. To make it 12-3 Braves, Abraham Almonte hit a two-run homer. And then, to score the FINAL two Atlanta runs, Ehire Adrianza had a two-RBI double, that scored Acuña and Freeman who both reached base on singles their previous at-bats. That made it 14-3, all Braves!

Things have still been scattered for the Atlanta Braves this 2021 season. They are going to have to figure things out soon, or they aren’t going to have a very enjoyable rest of the season.

Braves vs. Marlins Series Wrap

For the past few years, almost every time the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins face off, there is bound to be some sparks between the two teams. That did not fail in this series, and we’ll get to that in further detail later. Atlanta did, however, take two out of three games in this series.

Game One: Drew Smyly vs. Pablo LĂłpez, Braves won 1-0

Woah. This game started with some MAJOR sparks. To start off the bottom of the first inning, Pablo LĂłpez hit Ronald Acuña Jr. with the FIRST pitch he threw. Acuña was not happy, and Braves manager, Brian Snitker wasn’t happy at all. Immediately after Acuña was plunked with the pitch, the home plate umpire issued warnings. But Snitker wasn’t satisfied with that. He came out on the field saying he’d had enough of the Marlins “shenanigans” with his young stud, Ronald Acuña Jr. The umpires got together and after discussion, threw LĂłpez out of the game. He only threw one pitch. Miami’s manager, Don Mattingly AND their pitching coach (Mel Stottlemyre Jr.) were thrown out of the game defending their pitcher, Pablo LĂłpez. In my opinion, and I think a lot of other people’s, Pablo LĂłpez DID NOT mean to hit Acuña. You could tell by his reaction after his pitch hit Acuña…he grimaced. If a pitcher means to his a player, they don’t have an apologetic reaction. Instead, they stare at the player they hit without feeling any type of regret.

After all that drama, the game went on. Miami had to go to their bullpen, and the Braves had to focus on scoring, and they did just that. Because he was hit with a pitch, Acuña was on first base. Freeman followed Acuña with a single that advanced Ronald to third. That made it to where there were runners on the corners and no one out. My man, Ozzie Albies was up to bat. He hit a sac fly to right field, that allowed Acuña to score and it gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. That was the ONLY run scored in the entire game…wow!

Drew Smyly pitched fantastic for the Braves. He went 5.2 innings, allowed three hits, ZERO runs, two walks and he had seven strikeouts. His impressive outing on the mound was very key in this Braves win. Atlanta’s bullpen followed Smyly’s start, with good relief pitching.

Braves closer, Will Smith tried to blow the game for us in the top of the ninth inning when he had the bases loaded with one out. But somehow he got out of the mess he made, and preserved a Braves win with a final score of 1-0.

Game Two: Kyle Muller vs. Sandy Alcantara, Braves lost 3-2

Kyle Muller did not have a bad outing. He went 5.2 innings, allowed four hits, three runs, four walks, and he had seven strikeouts. Ultimately, with a lack of Braves offense, Marlins pitcher, Sandy Alcantara out-dueled Muller and got the win.

Miami got the lead at 2-0 in the top of the third inning. Coming into the fifth inning, that was still the score of the game. Kyle Muller started the bottom of the fifth inning with a strikeout for Atlanta. Acuña reached base on a fielding error by Miami’s third baseman, John Berti. Freeman followed him with a first pitch single, which advanced Acuña to third. Then my man Ozzie, had a first pitch RBI single that scored Acuña and got the Braves on the board making it a 2-1 game. Ozzie knows how to do his job!

The Marlins came right back to score one more in the top of the sixth inning, extending their lead to 3-1. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Atlanta got one run closer when Freddie Freeman had an RBI single that scored Ehire Adrianza, who reached base on a fielding error. That made the score 3-2. Which was the final score of the game. Overall pitching wasn’t bad for the Braves – it was just a lack of offense that made the biggest difference.

Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. Zach Thompson, Braves won 8-7

What a game! It seemed like the Braves were behind the Marlins almost the entire game. But somehow – someway – they came back and WON!

Charlie Morton had a rougher outing than we are accustomed to seeing from him. He went 5.1 innings, allowed five hits, four runs, two walks, and he had five strikeouts. So overall it wasn’t a horrible start, it just wasn’t what the type of start that Morton has had for the Braves.

Atlanta had the lead in the beginning of the game. In the bottom of the second inning, Ronald Acuña Jr.u hit a two-run bomb to give them the lead at 2-0. After his home run, Miami came back to score four runs; one in the top of the third, and the other three in the top of the sixth. That gave them the lead at 4-2. Atlanta made it a 4-3 game in the bottom of the sixth when Dansby Swanson had an RBI double that scored Freeman.

In the top of the ninth inning, Miami added on to their lead big time. Shane Greene came on to pitch for Atlanta. He gave up a solo home run to Sandy Leon, their catcher, and a two-run homer to Jesus Aguilar, their first baseman. That made it a 7-3 Marlins lead.

Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, things did not look good at all for the Atlanta Braves. However, they changed that! To lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, Austin Riley had a single. Dansby Swanson followed him with a forecourt which got Riley out at second but allowed Swanson to be safe at first. Heredia reached base on a single. So there were two Braves on the bases and one man out. Orlando Arcia had an RBI single that scored Swanson making it a 7-4 game. Pinch-hitter, Pablo Sandoval reached base on a walk, and then he was replaced with a pinch-runner, Ender Inciarte. Abraham Almonte had a two-RBI double that made it a 7-6 game. And then, to tie the game, Ronald Acuña Jr. had a sac fly that scored Inciarte from third base. It was a 7-7 game!

Going into the tenth inning, both teams were looking to end the game right then and there. The Miami Marlins were sent down in order by Braves closer, Will Smith. It was now up to the Braves offense.

Because of the extra inning rule, a runner is automatically placed on second base. Austin Riley was that guy for Atlanta. To start off the bottom of the tenth, Dansby Swanson was intentionally walked. Guillermo Heredia had a fly out to make the first out of the inning. Miami also intentionally walked Orlando Arcia to load the bases with Braves. Marlins pitcher, Anthony Bass, threw a wild pitch. Austin Riley streaked for home plate and he…scored??? The home-plate umpire called Austin Riley safe, but the Miami Marlins challenged the play at the plate, and the call was overturned. Riley was out. On the wild pitch Dansby Swanson advanced to third base.

Miami intentionally walked another Braves batter, their catcher, Kevan Smith to reload the bases. Because Atlanta has a short bench to begin with, they brought Max Fried, who is one of their starting pitchers, to come in and hit. Guess what he did?! After working a 3-1 count, Fried sent a line drive single into center field that scored Swanson and walked the game off for the Atlanta Braves with a final score of 8-7. Yes, that was his first walk-off!

What a great way for the Braves to end off the series with Miami, a walk-off win. After EVERYTHING that these two teams have gone through, at the end of the day, it’s still baseball.

Braves vs. Mets Series Wrap

What a series! What should have been a sweep of the New York Mets turned into an exciting, stress-filled series! The Atlanta Braves won the series, winning two out of three. Atlanta’s offense really came to life in these three games… but it was an especially good series for their second baseman- my man Ozzie Albies. He had a total of seven hits in these three games against division rivals, the New York Mets. Most of his hits were HUGE for the Braves, not to mention he had an OUTSTANDING game at the plate in game two of this series.

Game One: Tylor Megill vs. Charlie Morton, Braves lost 4-3

The Braves did not have a “bad game” they just had one pitching slip-up, that ended up costing them game one of this series.

Charlie Morton went six innings for the Braves. He gave up five hits, three runs, one walk and he had seven strikeouts. The seventh inning was where Charlie struggled a little bit. He started the inning with a lead off single, followed by a walk and then he gave up the game tying home run to James McCann. Morton was taken out of the game after he surrendered the home run. He didn’t pitch a bad game at all; he just hung a pitch, and McCann didn’t miss it.

The game was a scoreless tie going into the bottom of the fifth inning. After Contreras and Morton both got out to start the inning, Acuña and Freeman both reached base via a single. My Ozzie was up to bat. On the very FIRST PITCH he saw, he CRUSHED it out of the ballpark into straightaway center. He was pumped, the ballpark was ecstatic…it was a HUGE hit for him AND the Braves!!

After Charlie Morton gave up the home run in the top of the seventh to tie the game at three, A.J. Minter was brought on to pitch. He got an out, gave up a double, got another out, and then gave up an RBI single to Fransisco Lindor to break the tie and give the Mets the lead 4-3. In my personal opinion, Minter needs to be sent down to Triple-A. In almost every single appearance from the bullpen, he gives up at least one run. Not to mention, a lot of those runs he gives up are in close games, or tied games like this one.

That seventh inning blew the game for Atlanta, and they couldn’t get anymore offense together to attempt to win.

Game Tw0: Max Fried vs. David Peterson, Braves won 20-2

What a game for Ozzie Albies! He was 5-for-7 at the plate, with TWO home runs, THREE singles, and SEVEN runs batted in. Not to mention… this was his first career five hit game!!

Things got off to a shaky start for Max Fried and the Braves. Fried gave up a two-run homer to Pete Alonso in the top of the first to start the game…but it was ALL Braves after that.

Bottom of the first: Ronald Acuña Jr. leads off with a home run, making it a 2-1 game. Freeman follows his homer with a one-pitch single. He advanced to second base (which got him into scoring position) on a wild pitch. My man, Ozzie Albies took advantage of New York’s pitchers slip-up, and had an RBI single that tied the game at two a piece. They scored two more runs in the bottom of the third when Austin Riley had a line drive single, scoring Freeman and Ozzie, and making it 4-2 Atlanta.

Bottom of the fourth: Abraham Almonte led off the inning with a one-pitch double. Braves catcher, Kevan Smith had an RBI single that scored Almonte. That made the score 5-2, Braves on top. Max Fried was batting… he hit into a fielders choice. However, Mets pitcher Sean Reid-Foley, who was fresh outta the bullpen, had a throwing error that allowed Smith to advance to third base and for Fried to advance to second. Ronald Acuña Jr. made the first out of the inning with a groundout.

Even though there was one out, the Braves weren’t done yet! Freddie Freeman had an RBI single to score Kevan Smith, and then Ozzie followed him with his second RBI single of the night to score Fried. Austin Riley followed those two singles with yet another RBI single! Those three singles once again extended Atlanta’s lead, it was now an 8-2 game. Dansby Swanson reached base on a walk to load the bases with Braves. Guillermo Heredia had a two-RBI double to extend the Braves lead even more. Almonte had the final offensive blow (of that inning) with an RBI groundout to score Dansby Swanson. Making it 11-2… ALL Atlanta!

After two quick outs of Fried and Acuña to start the fifth inning, Freeman kept it alive with a double. So, with one on and two out, my Ozzie was up to bat. He absolutely SMOKED a ball into the seats in left field for a two-run BOMB!! That was his third hit of the night…he was 3-for-3. Ehire Adrianza, who came into the game to replace Acuña, hit a home run in his first plate-appearance of the night! It was a first-pitch bomb, once again extending the Braves lead, 14-2.

Bottom of the eighth inning: Heredia led off the inning with a ground-rule double. He was followed by two back-to-back walks – one to Kevan Smith and the other to Abraham Almonte. Ender Inciarte, who was pinch-hitting, walked with the bases loaded to score another Atlanta run. Then, with the bases still loaded, Panda was up to bat. He was hit with a pitch (non-intentional, of course), but it scored another Braves run, making it 16-2. Adrianza had an RBI groundout to score the Braves catcher (Kevan Smith), and then my Ozzie CRUSHED and absolute NO DOUBTER into right center field for his SECOND home run of the night, his FIFTH hit, and it made the Braves lead a whopping 20-2. Wooohooo!!

This was an extremely exciting game! Especially for me since I am a die-hard Ozzie Albies fan.

Game Three: Ian Anderson vs. Jacob deGrom, Braves won 4-3

What a great way for the Atlanta Braves to end the series with the Mets. They not only won the series, but also scored three runs off of Jacob deGrom – the most runs he has given up all year!

Ian Anderson did not pitch bad for the Braves. He got off to a shaky start – giving up one run in the top of the first – but after that he was pretty much able to dial it in. He pitched seven innings, gave up a total of two runs, allowed three hits, two walks, and had two strikeouts.

After the Mets got the lead 1-0 in the top of the first inning, the Braves came right back in the bottom of the first. Ehire Adrianza led off the game with a triple. Freddie Freeman struck out, and then my Ozzie had an RBI single that scored Adrianza and tied the game 1-1. Austin Riley followed Ozzie’s RBI single with a line drive, two-run home run to give Atlanta the lead at 3-1. The Braves were able to score three runs off of Jacob deGrom in the first inning…that is highly impressive!

In the top of the seventh inning, Dominic Smith hit a solo homer off of Ian Anderson to make it a 3-2 game. The Braves were still on top. However, in the top of the ninth inning, Brian Snitker brought Braves closer Will Smith on to pitch. He had ONE job…to preserve a Braves win. He did not do that. He gave up another solo home run to Dominic Smith to tie the game at three. He not only blew the save, but took a well-earned win away from Ian Anderson, AND a rare loss from Jacob deGrom. The Braves now had to come up with an offensive spark.

To lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, Heredia had a single for the Braves. He was followed by two quick outs. One was a groundout by Sandoval (his groundout advanced Heredia to third), and the other was a strikeout by Kevin Smith. Ronald Acuña Jr. was intentionally walked by the Mets, and then Ender Inciarte reached base on a walk. The Braves had bases loaded with two out. Freddie Freeman was up to bat. He was 0-for-4 in this game…he struck out in all four at-bats. But that strikeout, hitless streak didn’t continue. On the very first pitch he saw, he had an infield single that scored Heredia and allowed the Braves to win 4-3!!

This was a HUGE series win for Atlanta – they showed that they can take on the best and come out on top!

Braves vs. Mets Series Wrap

Whew. Series like this can be tough to watch. At least the Braves avoided a sweep. The Braves need serious bullpen help… and they need it now. Until the Braves can provide some much needed pitching consistency, it is going to be very tough for them to win games. If your bullpen cannot preserve a late inning lead- especially a close lead- your team is going to have a much harder time coming back to tie the game let alone come back and win it.

Game One: Max Fried vs. Taijuan Walker, Braves lost 3-1

Fried pitched very well for the Braves. He went six innings allowing five hits, one run, only gave up two walks, and he had eight strikeouts. Fried starting the top of the seventh inning but had to leave the game with a left hand (his pitching hand) cramp. The one positive thing about Fried’s exit was that he wasn’t seriously hurt. He was mainly taken out because it was giving him discomfort and the Braves could not afford another serious injury to a pitcher… especially a starting pitcher.

The Mets started the scoring after Fried was taken out. Before his exit he gave up a leadoff double to Tomas Nido and then Jacob Webb came on in relief of Max Fried. Webb has had some sketchy outings for the Braves. However, I will give him some credit, in the midst of those sketchy outings, he has had some decent outings. This one was not one of those rare outings. He gave up an RBI double to the first batter he saw (James McCann) which scored Nido and gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. After a sac bunt by Johneshwy Fargas, Webb gave up a walk to Fransisco Lindor. Lindor stole second base as well. In the following AB, Webb struck out Pete Alonso, and then Dominic Smith was intentionally walked. That loaded the bases with Mets runners. There are now two out, and the bases are loaded. And what does Jacob Webb do? He hits Kevin Pillar smack in the face with the pitch. Obviously it was not intentional in the slightest. Pillar was able to walk off the field but he was bloody and definitely in pain. Webb was seriously shaken up, so Brian Snitker did the right thing and took him out of the game. Following Jacob Webb, Sean Newcomb came on to pitch and he got the final out of the inning, leaving the bases loaded with Mets, and the score at 2-0 Mets on top.

Sean Newcomb stayed in the game and pitched the top of the eighth inning for the Braves. He got Jose Peraza out to start the inning, gave up a single to Tomas Nido, got another out from Jake Hager on a wild pitch which allowed Nido to advance to second, and then Newcomb gave up a double to Johneshwy Fargas that made it 3-0 Mets. Following that, he gave up a walk to Lindor and then got the final out of the inning on a pop out by Pete Alonso.

In the bottom of the eighth inning Austin Riley put the Braves on the board with a colossal home run to right center field. That made the game 3-1, Mets still on top.

That was the final score of the game because the Braves offense could not produce in the bottom of the ninth inning. Once again, the Braves bullpen did not keep the shut out and could not limit the run damage to one run.

Game Two: Tucker Davidson vs. Miguel Castro, Braves lost 4-3

Tucker Davidson made his 2021 debut for the Braves. He pitched considerably well given how good the Mets are this season. He went six innings, allowed five hits, gave up three runs, one walk, and had five strikeouts. The Braves have had injuries to the starting rotation, so it was nice to see that a young guy like Davidson could come up from Triple-A Gwinnett and give the Braves a quality outing. The only two blemishes on his performance was a two run homer by Jonathan Villar, and a sac fly in the top of the sixth by Pete Alonso. Other than that he was very good on the mound.

The Braves scored their first run of the night in the bottom of the fifth inning on a solo home run to right center field by Austin Riley. Right now, Riley has been the hottest hitter for the Braves. He is hitting the baseball to all fields, getting on base constantly, and providing some needed offense for the Braves. They scored their second run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a solo home run by Freddie Freeman, making the score 3-2. The Braves were getting closer. And then, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Marcell Ozuna tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI single that scored Ehire Adrianza.

Okay, top of the ninth inning… tied ballgame. Will Smith comes on to pitch for the Braves. He gets the first two batters out with no problem. Then he gives up a solo home run to Tomas Nido, making it a 4-3 game with the Mets on top. Once again, in a tied game, the Braves bullpen could not maintain the tie.

In the bottom of the ninth inning the Braves could not come up with any late inning offense, therefore the Mets took game two with a final score of 4-3.

Game Three: Charlie Morton vs. David Peterson, Braves won 5-4

This game was intense in the late innings. Both teams scored runs late, and ultimately the Braves came out on top.

Charlie Morton pitched quite well for the Braves. He went six innings, only allowed two hits, and one run. Oh, and he also had NO walks and eight strikeouts. The one run he allowed came on a solo home run by Jonathan Villar in the top of the fourth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Braves looked a little bit more like the offensive team we are used to seeing. After Ozzie Albies grounded out to start the inning, Austin Riley had a double to center field. Dansby Swanson also had a groundout to make the second out of the inning, and then following him, William Contreras was hit by a pitch. Guillermo Heredia had a first pitch single that scored Riley and advanced Contreras to second. Then Charlie Morton got in on the fun and had a first-pitch-single also. He hit it to center field and it scored Contreras. Morton smoked that ball, and it paid off! His single made it a 2-1 Braves lead. Ronald Acuña Jr. walked on a wild pitch, and taking advantage of the wild pitch, Heredia scored making it 3-1 Braves on top.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Braves had the bases loaded with two outs. It was Charlie Morton’s at-bat. Brian Snitker knew how well Morton was pitching, but ultimately made the decision to take Charlie Morton out and go for an offensive approach by brining Pablo Sandoval on to try and bring in more Atlanta runs. Sandoval had a line out, which did not allow the Braves to score any more runs.

I get why Snitker took Charlie Morton out and replaced him with Sandoval, I really do. He knew how well Morton was pitching, but with a close score and the Braves’ bullpen being as unstable as it is, he was looking for more run support. However, that did not happen. But, you can’t put a player back in after you’d already taken him out, so it was what it was.

Coming into the top of the seventh inning, the Braves still had the lead at 3-1. A.J. Minter was up to pitch for the Braves. He started the inning with a quick two outs, but then he got into some trouble. Minter had a two-base throwing error to get Dominic Smith on base. He then gave up a four pitch walk to James McCann, and then Jose Peraza had a RBI double that scored Smith and made it a 3-2 game. That run was unearned because of the error by Minter. As if the Mets hadn’t beaten up on the Braves enough, Tomas Nido had a two RBI single which gave the Mets the lead again at 4-3. It’s so frustrating to see the Braves’ starting pitcher do so well, the offense provide a lead, and then for the bullpen to go and blow it.

Although the bullpen blew a lead again, the Braves did tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. William Contreras had a RBI single that scored Austin Riley and made it a 4-4 game.

Bottom of the ninth inning. Tied ballgame. Aaron Loup was put back in the game to pitch the ninth inning for the Mets (he pitched the eighth inning for the Mets, too).

Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the bottom of the ninth inning for the Braves. On the FIRST PITCH he saw, Acuña hit his first career walk-off home run sending the Braves home with a 5-4 win!

It was so good to see the Braves be able to, first of all, avoid a sweep, but also be able to come back from behind in the late innings, and win the game. Hopefully they can keep that trend up, and the bullpen will figure itself out, soon!

Braves vs Marlins Series Wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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