So, here we are, back to recapping after two weeks away for a vacation. Let’s see, when I left the Braves were up 6.5 in the division, when I get back – up 7. Okay, that’s good. What else has changed? Well, Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis are on the IL. Not good. Austin Riley was struggling after his hot start, and still is, that’s in the Not Good side of the ledger. The bullpen was teetering on Full Blown Dumpster Fire mode, but there are these three guys that weren’t here as far back as lunchtime on Wednesday, so Good? Oh, Kevin Gausman is trying to cling to the 5th starter spot – and based on his last couple of performances, I’d call that for ‘Not Good.’
So, last night – Alex Wood got the start for the second time this year, and with the exception of two pitches, was in control, pitching into the 7th inning. Gausman, on the other hand, didn’t do anything to encourage the Braves to believe he’s the answer to who’s going to pitch in the 5th starter spot.
In the top of the first, Cincy jumped to the lead after just four pitches, with Jesse Winker singling and Joey Votto followed two pitches later with a two run homer. The lead was stretched to three in the 3rd, when Votto led off with a single, Eugenio Suarez singled him to third, and he scored on a groundout. The Reds finished off their scoring in the 4th, when Jose Peraza led off with a single, went to third on Kyle Farmer single, and scored one out later on a Jesse Winker fielder’s choice. Iniatially ruled out, the call was overturned for a 4-0 lead. Votto then hit a sac fly to score Farmer. 5-0 after 4.
Gausman started the 5th, but after a lead off walk to Suarez and a one out single to Nick Senzel, Snitker lifted him an out later for Josh Tomlin. Tomlin cleaned up the mess, and then tossed two more scoreless innings.
Atlanta got on the board in the bottom of the 5th when Austin Riley hit his first homer in almost a month, and Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the 6th with a no doubter of his own. But Wood and the Cincy pen didn’t give up anything else at all and that’s how the game ended.
After the game, Gausman mentioned how he had to keep his head up, since he planned to take his next start in five days. You have to admire his optimism, but you wonder if he’ll get that chance. He hasn’t really shown any consistent results this year to justify a spot in the rotation. But, with the Braves being 7.5 back of the Dodgers, and 6 up in the division (and a similar lead on Whoever Is Leading The NL Central Today Cardubrewers) perhaps the pressure to lock down that spot isn’t as intense as it could be. However, Mike Foltynewicz is pitching better down in Gwinnett, and if he’s cured his ills, he’s the power type pitcher you’d love to run out in a playoff start. I guess we’ll see how this shakes out in the next week or two.