The Braves continued their recent tradition of losing on Opening Day, dropping to 0-1 for the fourth time in five seasons. They also continued their recent tradition of getting shutout at Citi Field on opening day, failing to plate a run against the Mets in Queens for the third time in the last nine openers.
The Mets won on Opening Day for the fifth year in a row, and are now 39-20 (.661) on Opening Days in franchise history. No other franchise is even above .600, a true testament to the old baseball adage that it’s all about how you start, not how you finish. Or something like that.
On the whole, it more or less followed the status quo of recent Opening Days for these two franchises. And that’s almost too perfect on what has to be the Opening Day with the least amount of status quo ever.
Everything is in the upside down, but not so upside down that the Braves are going to score a run at Citi Field on Opening Day. It’s never happened in 18 innings before today, and it’s not going to start happening now.
Anyway, the most important part of the game today was always going to be the fact that there was a game rather than the score, but there were still a couple tidbits to dissect.
- Mike Soroka gave you everything you could have wanted. Six shutout innings, consistent control of his arsenal, and a handful of changeups that should have come with a “viewer discretion advised” warning before the pitch.
- Freddie Freeman turned an incredible double play in the first inning. That man had a fever of 104.5 earlier this month. Yet another reminder that professional athletes are a different species, and no your cousin who played two years of JV baseball cannot make contact with a 100 MPH fastball despite what he might claim at every Thanksgiving.
- Austin Riley laid off two sliders from Jacob deGrom in his first at-bat and two more from Seth Lugo in his third trip to the plate. No hits to show for it, but that was an encouraging sign on his quest to look less like a real life Pedro Cerrano.
- Ender Inciarte with not one but two great catches in center. Having the designated hitter available should make him a mainstay at the bottom of Brian Snitker’s lineup.
- Speaking of Snitker, good game management today. Didn’t let Inciarte face a left-handed pitcher in the eighth, and also didn’t let Alex Jackson hit in a one-run game late. There are going to be a lot of opportunities to use pinch hitters this year without pitchers batting, and where those are used will be crucial. Good start on that front.
- Well, for starters the Braves lost. That’s never as good as the alternative.
- Austin Riley got two 3-2 fastballs in the game’s key at-bat for Atlanta in the seventh and didn’t hit either of them. I suppose this technically qualifies him as moving away from being a Cerrano type, although not quite with the desired result.
- One mistake from Chris Martin was the difference in the game, and he will forever be the answer to the trivia question “Which pitcher allowed the first home run by a designated hitter in a game involving two National League teams?”
- Having to face Jacob deGrom on Opening Day is a lot like getting a nuclear physics test on the first day of school, but getting four innings against New York’s bullpen in a tie game was a gift that went to waste. There was a real chance to steal a game on the road there and the big hit never came. Alas, it’ll be at least another day before “in play, run(s)” is back in our lives.
- Thankfully everybody was alright, but that Jeff McNeil summersault at third base could have ended really badly for him, Riley, or both. This is why you don’t go from second to third on hard hit ground balls to shortstop. Or, you know, don’t summersault into the bag. Always that option.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Technically he never played an MLB game with the Braves, but Jose Peraza did spend five years in Atlanta’s minor league system. He was even considered a top prospect, if you can remember back to a time longer than four months ago. Peraza started at second base for the Red Sox and went 4-for-5 as Boston thumped Baltimore 13-2 at Fenway Park.
Quote Of The Game:
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell them what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
– Rogers Hornsby
Let’s try to get a run on the board!