Is it? Could it be? It is! An actual win in a regulation game!
Since the last time the Braves won a nine inning game, Ronald Acuña Jr. was placed on the injured list, Sean Newcomb was optioned to Gwinnett, Robbie Earlin was signed, Chad Sobotka was sent down and called back up approximately 798 times, four college football conferences cancelled their seasons and an entire major golf championship was played.
The last week has been quite a month.
But lo and behold, the Braves pulled it out. Adam Duvall did his best Carlton Fisk impression and slammed a game-winning home run off the left field foul pole to break a 1-1 tie in the ninth. At that moment, we were all Fisk.
You were trying to wave the ball fair. I was trying to wave the ball fair. We were all trying to wave the ball fair.
It may not have been game six of the World Series, but we really needed that. Duvall’s swing was the difference falling into the longest losing streak since 2017 and having a chance to salvage a 4-5 road trip.
At long last, it’s finally time to break down a win.
- Fried is the best pitcher the Braves have had since…Tim Hudson? Greg Maddux? Warren Spahn? A 44-year-old Cy Young who still somehow fired a 3.71 ERA in 1911? All of the above? Discuss.
- Fried’s pick-off move is such a weapon, especially against a team with a standing green light on the basepaths like the Marlins. He got himself out of trouble big time in the third inning by erasing a four-pitch walk to Monte Harrison. Fried is quite literally doing everything for himself, including getting outs on the basepaths. If only the league would still let him hit.
- Duvall is the platonic ideal of that player who only plays for your team for a couple of years, never reaches an All Star Game or ends up in Cooperstown, but you absolutely love him anyway. He sort of resembles Matt Diaz in that respect, although Diaz was in Atlanta for much longer than Duvall. Eric Hinske might be a better recent example for a guy who was just in Atlanta for a flash but still provided some great moments.
Every organization has those role players who just pass through the team for a few years and make a huge impact before eventually moving on. Duvall arrived rather unceremoniously in a trade the day before the deadline in 2018 and spent most of 2019 in Gwinnett. And here he is a year later as a mainstay in the lineup and the provider of two memorable playoff moments last October.
You won’t have a single bad memory of Duvall whenever he eventually leaves the Braves. And he added another big one to the scrapbook tonight.
- Shane Greene made the biggest pitches of the night in relief of an exhausted Fried in the seventh. He retired Matt Joyce and Eddy Alvarez with the go-ahead runs on base, and you could see what it meant to Fried when the final out of the inning was recorded. Greene is your unsung hero of the night.
- Every day without Acuña and Albies in the lineup turns the pressure up on Marcell Ozuna a little more, but he answered the bell tonight with a huge home run. His seventh inning shot landed right where the eye sore of a home run sculpture used to be. The Marlins paid $2,500,000 to render that in 2012, also known as 428% more than Max Fried’s base salary for the season before COVID-19 prorated the deals down. Sleep well tonight, Miami!
- Johan Camargo had a night with basic fundamentals, and not in a good way. He was doubled off first base on a flyball hit to right field in the fifth, and in the sixth he came within a 50/50 replay review of costing the Braves a run with an abysmal “tag” on Jonathan Villar. And just to add the cherry on top, his bat landed on top of the Marlins’ dugout after his second inning strikeout.
- I sound like a broken record at this point, but how long is Ender Inciarte’s rope? After 50 at-bats on the season, his OPS is .488. Max Fried’s OPS in 56 at-bats last season was .530. Fried’s slugging percentage of .268 beats out Inciarte’s .220 clip. Inciarte’s OBP is six points higher, but his batting average is eight points lower. When starting pitchers are better at the plate in comparable sample sizes, something has to be done.
- The Braves had to use all of the high leverage relievers tonight, so the pressure is really on Robbie Erlin to provide some length tomorrow.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Joyce came within about 10 feet of beating the Braves on a walk-off home run and possibly making me discontinue this segment permanently because nothing would ever be able to top that. But once the final out settled into Ender Inciarte’s glove, this stage went over to Kevin Gausman.
Yep. It happened again. Another ex-Brave figured it out somewhere else.
Quote Of The Game:
“It’s just nice to win one.”
– Kevin Malone
Well, Erlin can’t give up a grand slam on his first pitch of the game tomorrow. With that piece of mind in his back pocket, hopefully he can get through four or five innings to give the Braves a puncher’s chance at winning the series tomorrow.