Braves Eke Out 2-1 Win In Washington Behind Ian Anderson’s Brilliant Start

Yes, that is what a good start looks like. 

It’s entirely possible and understandable if the last two weeks have brainwashed you into thinking that any time a pitcher gets through four innings without trailing by five runs it counts as a solid start, but tonight you saw a great pitching performance. 

Ian Anderson’s worst inning of the night was the second inning, where he walked two batters but came back to retire the side in order without allowing a run to cross. The highest exit velocity of any hit he allowed was 37.9 MPH off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera, because that was the only hit he allowed all day. 

It might be five more days before you get to watch a really good start again, but Anderson made sure to squeeze every single drop of juice out of tonight’s game for you. 

Positives: 

  • I really think that was the best start of the season for the Braves. Max Fried has his fair share of contenders and Mike Soroka was great on Opening Day, but Anderson was on another level tonight. I would like to nominate the 2-2 changeup he threw to Juan Soto in the sixth inning as the best singular pitch from any Braves pitcher all season. To get a hitter as advanced as Soto to look that bad is something special. 
  • And after how much Anderson was struggling to control his offspeed stuff in the second inning, it looked like he wouldn’t even get to the sixth inning. The only thing he could really command the first time through the order was his fastball; all four changeups he threw in his stretch of eight balls in 10 pitches were outside the strike zone. But he stuck with his best pitch until he found it. The 2-2 changeup he threw to Yadiel Hernandez to end the second inning was the biggest pitch of his night, and it was smooth sailing from there. 
  • Your unsung MVP of the night? Rick Kranitz. His mound visit in the second inning after Anderson’s back-to-back walks was the turning point of the game. It’s rare that you see a pitching coach have as noticable and as direct of an impact on a game like that, but his mound visit was essential. It was almost like Anderson was living out a Snickers commercial. 

“You’re not you when you’re hungry” until your pitching coach comes out and gives you a Snicker and you can go back to throwing wicked changeups past some of the best hitters in baseball. 

By the way, how has the Snickers/Snitker endorsement not happened yet in almost half a decade as manager. 

  • Ronald Acuña Jr. is fine, by the way. If the first inning hit and stolen base didn’t convince you, the leaping catch in center field certainly should have. I feel like he’s almost part cyborg to be able to shake off an injury like that in 24 hours, because there’s no way a mere mortal would’ve been back in the lineup today. 
  • Mark Melancon had a nice, stress free ninth inning there to lock down the game. And by “stress free” I mean “maybe the most stressful half inning of the season” of course, but he got the job done. Remember, your heart is a muscle and you have to work it out from time to time. 
  • Credit to Brian Snitker for playing the matchups in the ninth. Melancon is just a much better bet against a right-handed hitter as opposed to a left-handed bat, and Snitker made the right decision with the game hanging in the balance. 
  • Adam Duvall’s diving catch: Underrated, but huge. The top of Washington’s order might have gotten another chance to hit in the ninth without that catch to slam the door on the seventh. 
  • Two hits and a barreled out for Travis d’Arnaud tonight. He also had a pivotal stop on a ball in the dirt that kept the tying run from advancing 90 feet in the ninth. The catching situation is pretty great right now. 

Negatives: 

  • The Braves have gone from 29 runs down to seven and now to two. This is trending in the wrong direction on offense with Max Scherzer looming tomorrow. 
  • Alright, in all seriousness there were 12 strikeouts tonight and several blown opportunities to put the game out of reach early. There’s no reason to make a big deal out of it because it ended in a win, but this could have been a very similar conversation to the one after last night’s game if Victor Robles had found some grass in the game’s final at-bat. 
  • The Nationals will have Scherzer and essentially a completely rested bullpen at their disposal tomorrow, while the Braves will probably have Greene and Melancon down in relief of Kyle Wright. Advantage Washington. 
  • The Phillies took care of the Marlins and the Cubs pulled a game out of the fire in Milwaukee, so #ScoreboardWatchingSeason didn’t yield any positive results in the race for the NL East or the No. 2 seed. 

Former Brave Of The Day: 

A Cubs win isn’t the best news for the Braves right now, but this has to be Jason Heyward. When you hit a game-winning three-run home run off Josh Hader in the ninth inning, you win Former Brave Of The Day. It’s just how it works. 

Quote Of The Game: 

“All I ever had was a fastball, a curveball and a changeup and I did pretty good.” 

– Dizzy Dean

Tomorrow’s Goal: 

Score 29 runs off Max Scherzer. Should be easy, right? Seriously though, Kyle Wright getting through the lineup twice without any major issues would be a positive step in his development. 

46 thoughts on “Braves Eke Out 2-1 Win In Washington Behind Ian Anderson’s Brilliant Start”

  1. Man, was that a pitching performance. Kinda forgot what one looked like. And man do we have some amazing game recappers.
    Thanks Alan, JonathanF, Tfloyd, Cliff, Rusty and others. Y’all are awesome.

  2. That win was really big, because today’s game is seriously tilted toward Washington on paper (Max Scherzer vs. Kyle Wright is the pitching matchup, so…) and getting at least a split out of this series seemed like a must to stop the sort of downward trend we’d been on.

    Also, whenever we can win a game where we only score 2 runs, that’s a pretty big bonus at this point. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see us losing all three of these games, and we’ve won two of them.

  3. @5 – Agreed. It’s like we either blow the other team out (see 29 runs) or we are clawing back at the end with the result being about 50/50 win or lose. Nice to see a low scoring game in which our starting pitching holds up. It’s a rarity these days. And I’m pleased Anderson obviously heeded my advice yesterday and found the strike zone again.

  4. Once again, Chip pimps for the inference that contract outyears that a club has to eat are valuable. He may be correct for teams that avoid the luxury tax. Otherwise, it makes no economic sense at all.

  5. In closed captioning, Anibal Sanchez’s name just scrolled by as Hannah Bell Sanchez and I’ll forever call him that when he faces the Braves.

  6. I know he’s only three innings in so far, but Mr. Wright is looking much better today.

    Edit–and of course as soon as I type this Soto doubles. The key will be how Wright responds.

  7. Ozuna’s ability to work an 8-pitch walk like that is a big part of what has impressed me so much about his plate approach. He’s not just swinging from his shoetops. He really commands the strike zone, has a good ability to spoil pitcher’s pitches, and when he gets his pitch, he hits it about as far as anyone I’ve ever seen.

  8. This inning is mostly not on Wright. In fact, he did a great job getting the double play grounders from Turner and Cabrera (although they couldn’t turn it on Turner).

  9. Other than the lucky DP in the 4th, Wright has been fighting rinky dink crap all day. If the Braves could score these rinky dink kind of runs, we’d never lose. Bunt hits, sac flies, errors – none of it really Wright’s fault.

  10. The play that ended the 4th inning 3-6-5 DP has only been turned 12 times in the Retrosheet event era (since 1920). The last time it happened was almost exactly a year ago (9/15/19) with the same two teams.

    OMG… Duvall and Ozzie

  11. Adam Duvall slamming his bat to the bridge and telling the Nationals

    YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

  12. Am I wrong thinking that Duvall reminds me of Klesko but with better defense? Touch em all!

    And as I’m typing…Riley follows suit!

  13. OZZIE!!

    OK, now I think I can legitimately say that Kyle Wright has outpitched Max Scherzer today.

    We are so much better with Ozzie back even if he airmails the rare throw.

  14. Question asked, question answered. The rope is thin with this one…

    EDIT – you won this round, Snit. But still…take a gift horse, please.

  15. Looks like the Georgia legislature convened an emergency session and passed a law that says that Braves pitchers can go six innings on two consecutive starts — I didn’t even know that was constitutional. You learn something new every day!

  16. Not the easiest lineup to get through 6 innings against, so this was a big outing for Wright. Hopefully it leads to more confidence for him.

  17. Nice slider by Matzek there! It was an unhittable pitch and was still in the strike zone. We’ve made some good pitches on Soto the last couple days.

  18. What’s really bizarre given all the kvetching the last few days is that – assuming the score holds – the Braves came 22 LOBs and an extra inning run away from a sweep.

    Oh, and the Marlins beat the Phillies in the first of two.

  19. Gotta say, Chris Martin’s been as advertised.

    Give Kyle Wright the game ball. Congrats for getting off the schneid, rook. Now do it again.

  20. Yesterday, before game 3, I would have taken a split. This team is something else.
    Good for Kyle Wright. Great game.

  21. So now we might be able to expect to have a rotation of Fried, Anderson, Hamels, Wright, Tomlin? That might be passable and might actually leave three options for the playoffs.

    Next year, I think we could live with a rotation of Soroka, Fried, Anderson, Wright, next rookie. If Folty can become serviceable again then there will be some depth.

  22. Great series win for us. A new star is officially born, painfully earned. Our offense is masterful provided only the man on third nonsense. Ozzie can throw away two runs right handed with woefully weak efforts, automatically renewing concern regarding his wrist – then he goes deep in fine style, left handed. So which wrist was hurt?

    Regarding our DC foes we came in fearing the Turner/Soto duopoly. They were contained though not entirely. But Eaton nearly scuppered us and was the greater threat in more than one game. When have we seen such perfect bunting with great speed on the bases and home run power.

    Great series to watch every pitch and enjoy. Anderson and Wright confirmed, ring the Church bells.

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