What specifically was going through your mind after Edwin Diaz dropped a 3-1 slider in for a strike against Marcell Ozuna in the top of the ninth? Ozuna’s strikeout vs. Diaz yesterday? Staring down the barrel of a not having a win on the board with 3.3% of the season done? The prospect of scoring one run in 18 innings to start the season?
Personally, I was thinking about what Braves social media would look like if the Braves started 0-3. If an 0-3 start with 159 games left to play caused a descension into anarchy where Tiger Woods simultaneously became both a deity and a meme, can you imagine what an 0-3 start would have looked like with just 57 games left to make it up?
Ozuna on the other hand was thinking about how Diaz rung him up on an 0-2 fastball the day before, a questionable pitch selection given the count and hitter. Ozuna was ready for the two-strike fastball, hit it over the wall, and rescued Braves social media from lord only knows what. And in the process, he set the Braves up to become the first road team to win a game with the new extra innings rule in place.
- The Braves simultaneously pulled a game out of the fire while dealing something of a mental blow to a division rival in the process. That’s huge in a 60-game season, although if any team has experience responding from losses of that nature it’s probably the Mets.
- William Contreras has hit an RBI double in extra innings on every pitch he has seen in the majors. He also caught a pitcher who throws a lot of sliders for two innings without any problems. He probably earned his first career start tomorrow night.
- The unsung hero of the game was Ronald Acuña Jr., despite going 0-for-5. He raced over to cut off Michael Conforto’s hit in the ninth, forcing Conforto to retreat to first instead of being in position to score on the ensuing Amed Rosario single. Then again, would you try to take an extra 90 feet on a man has an actual rocket launcher attached to his shoulder?
- Max Fried’s curveball is really, really good. The pitch that fanned Yonenis Cespedes to end the first inning belongs in a museum.
- I don’t think there is a better combination of things on the planet than dogs and home runs, and Adam Duvall managed to put the two together with one beautiful moment in the second inning. Seriously, Duvall could probably take 100 swings in batting practice aiming for that cutout and still not hit it. He should go buy a lottery ticket.
- The bullpen was really good. A.J. Minter was another unsung hero, keeping the game manageable with some huge pitches in a seventh inning jam. He had good life on his fastball, and Darren O’Day also fired a clean inning.
- Dansby Swanson took a 2-1 lead over his girlfriend Mallory Pugh in terms of sports played, as his 10th inning leap over Rosario qualified him to represent the United States at next year’s Olympics in the 110-meter hurdles.
- Pete Alonso has been swinging the bat like one of the Coca-Cola polar bears so far instead of a real one, a real credit to Atlanta’s pitching staff.
- Luke Jackson has picked up where he left off last year in his quest to allow as many baserunners as possible without actually letting any of them score. I watch him pitch the same way a six-year-old might watch Houdini; impressed that he is actually going to escape while simultaneously terrified this is going to be the one time where he can’t get out of the box.
- The second New York run was a self-inflicted wound. Ronald Acuña Jr. took a bad angle on the Amed Rosario triple, and the extra base there allowed him to score on the sacrifice fly.
- Max Fried was leaving the ball up in the zone a little bit. It got him in some trouble with a pair of walks in the second inning, and then the Mets took advantage of those mistakes with two runs in the fifth. Sure it’s a little bit of a nitpick for a guy who pitched pretty well, but the segment is called “negatives” for a reason.
- Swanson dropped his bat twice in the same at-bat, meaning either he forgot to apply pine tar to it before the game or he spent his entire quarantine practicing the hurdles instead of strengthening his grip.
- Mark Melancon was not given the nod to pitch in a save situation because his back locked up during the game, so that’s a concern to keep an eye on for a bullpen that’s already missing Will Smith.
Former Brave Of The Day:
There were actually quite a few options today. Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons both knocked in runs in Anaheim’s 4-1 win over Oakland, Matt Kemp picked up Colorado’s first RBI of the season, and Mike Minor had a solid start for Texas. But the title here has to go to Phil Gosselin, who hit two home runs for the Phillies as they picked up a 7-1 win over the Marlins. That doubles the total from his entire Atlanta tenure, as Gosselin homered just once in 70 games with the Braves.
Quote Of The Game:
“BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN! BRAVES WIN!”
– Skip Caray
Sean Newcomb’s biggest downfall as a starting pitcher was a lack of control. Hopefully only having to pitch in front of cardboard people (and a few dogs) will him settle down a little bit and help him throw some strikes.