Mike Soroka continued his dominant 2019 season last night, limiting a recently resurgent Miami Marlin team to 1 run in 8+ innings while the offense shook off the Pittsburgh Flu as the Braves earned a series opening win 7-1 last night.
Atlanta opened the game with its best Chicago voting impression – scoring early and often. Freddie Freeman got the festivities off to a rousing start by (SHOCKER!) crushing the first pitch he saw from Jose Urena into the upper deck in right for a quick 2-0 lead, driving in Dansby Swanson who had singled.
The Braves tacked another run on in the top of the 2nd when Ozzie Albies singled with one down, and Soroka, trying to bunt him over, instead worked a walk. Ronald Acuna Jr then hit a ball so hard off the left field wall that Joe Simpson still thinks it was a double today. However, Curtis Granderson was able to field it quickly enough to hold Soroka at second. Statcast said the exit velocity was 113 mph. Acuna stood there and admired the shot, so he was lucky Soroka had to hold because otherwise we’d have to yell at him for not hustling…
Ozzie was involved in Atlanta’s next run in the 3rd, when he singled in Nick Markakis with two down. I’m sure Soroka was enjoying the fact that he ended the 3rd by striking out, since it was his second plate appearance of the game.
In the 4th Acuna continued the scoring when he took Urena deep to right center leading off the inning. It was obvious he was enjoying that as he carried his bat most of the way down the line and gave it an Epic Batflip. Even Curmudgeonly Ol’ Joe didn’t have anything to say about that, as if anyone had earned the right to that sort of display, it was Ronald. Dansby and FabFive Freddie chased Urena by following the homer with a single and a run scoring double.
Atlanta closed their scoring with a 5th inning nightcap when with one out, Ozzie walked, was acrificed to second, and came home on Acuna’s third hit of the evening. 7-0 Atlanta, and the only suspense left was how far deep into the game would Soroka would pitch.
Speaking of pitching, Mike wasn’t exactly dominant, but he was very very good, and was backed up by some very very good defense. After a 1-2-3 bottom of the 1st, he pitched around a Starlin Castro lead off double, catching Castro in a one out run down after fielding a come backer to the mound. Soroka walked the lead off batter in the 3rd, but worked around that as well, with Swanson ending the frame on a beautiful diving stab of a Martin Prado liner.
After a clean 4th, J.T. Riddle singled to lead off the 5th, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, and went to third on a one out Miguel Rojas single. But pinch hitter Austin Dean grounded into a 6-4-3 to end the threat. After that Soroka settled into cruise control, retiring the next nine Marlins hitters leading us to the 9th.
Snit let the kid go out for the 9th to try for the shut out, and that was defensible as Mike had only thrown 93 pitches through 8. However, he brought the quick hook after Granderson worked a walk to lead off the frame. 99 total pitches, 67 strikes, 3 hits, two walks. That’ll play in any league. Dan Winkler came in, and of course, allowed the Grybo to mean Soroka’s effort ‘ONLY’ lowered his season ERA from 1.41 to 1.38.
Anyway, I’m sure Dallas Keuchel is as looking forward to getting in front of this defense as much as we are to seeing him get in front of that defense. But, for tonight, we’ll have to settle for Julio Teheran.