Well, that one checked all of the boxes.
A top-tier Phillies pitcher dominating the Braves on the opening weekend of the season? Yup.
Said top-tier pitcher being an Atlanta area native, therefore giving him superpowers as soon as the Braves show up in the other dugout? Zack Wheeler hails from Marietta, Georgia.
Bad luck with BABIP? All three Philadelphia hits in the costly fifth inning were under a 90 MPH exit velocity, with Jean Segura’s rally-starting hit checking in at a whopping 85.1 MPH off the bat.
An opposing pitcher delivering the key blow? Wheeler’s RBI single broke the ice in the fifth inning.
Sean Newcomb starting innings by walking batters and ending them by watching those walks come around to score? It happened in the sixth inning.
The Braves getting off to a slow start? This is the second time in three years and third time since 2016 the Braves have started 0-2.
Narratives can be overblown sometimes, but it’s hard to argue that the Braves lost in a lot of the ways they usually do today. It was hard not to have at least some thoughts of all the pitchers who picked up big hits against Atlanta, getting blooped to death and of course that opening series in 2019.
Fortunately, the series in question was much worse than this one, and that (regular) season ended up pretty nicely.
That was really frustrating, but pace yourselves. We still have 160 to go.
- Forget the ugly ending. I know it’s hard, but just block it out for a minute. Charlie Morton was everything you could have possibly wanted. He was totally dialed in with his fastball and sinker especially until one little blip in the fifth spiraled out of control. If not for a fluttering curveball that clipped Roman Quinn’s foot, he probably would’ve made it into the sixth inning with the game in the balance at 0-0. It was a positive start to his second tenure with the Braves.
- The Ronald Acuña Jr. throw in the first inning was particularly beautiful; you could see it developing as soon as he cut the ball off in the corner. The second Harper rounded first you knew there would be a throw, and as soon as Ronald uncorked it you knew he had a chance at the out. Poetry in motion, and credit to Dansby Swanson for getting a good tag down on the end of it, too.
- Luke Jackson did not surrender a grand slam to Rhys Hoskins in the sixth. Yet another way this series is better than the 2019 opener.
- The Braves won’t have to face Aaron Nola or Zack Wheeler tomorrow.
- Where to start…where to start…the entire game went up in flames when a hitter with a career OPS of .668 got clipped on the foot by a curveball. And the Phillies got their first run in what was ultimately a one-run win off the back of a hit batter setting up a sacrifice fly. So that’s two games and two crucial HBPs if you’re keeping score at home.
- What are we still doing here with Sean Newcomb? I understand the value of having a long man in the bullpen and of course him being a lefty is a bonus, but at a certain point it’s just not there. His control was exactly as it has been since 2017 today—erratic. I believe in second chances, but I don’t believe in 102nd chances. Or in Newcomb’s case, today was his 110th career big league outing. Newk is almost 350 innings into his career and his K-BB ratio is not even at 2/1. We’re done here.
- Unfortunately, Philadelphia appears to have fixed some of its bullpen issues. The season is long, but 4-0 didn’t feel like an insurmountable deficit against that group last season. Today it did.
- Two runs in 19 innings to open the season, and they both came on an 0-2 swing from Pablo Sandoval.
- Zack Wheeler doubled up the Braves in the hit column today. Wheeler also has as many RBIs as the Braves as a team through two games. I’m not sure what to do with those numbers other than just marinate in the sadness of the statistics. If you have any ideas, feel free to holler in the comments.
- Can the Braves please open the season anywhere other than Philadelphia in 2022? Put them in a blizzard in Colorado or an international game in Tokyo for all I care. Can we get a baseball diamond on the moon? Just not Citizens Bank Park again. That place has cursed energy, but only during the first week of April.
- If the Braves lose tomorrow, they will match the 0-3 start in 2019l. That series sweep created the legendary Braves Twitter meltdown that launched the Tiger Woods meme. It’s dangerous out in the Twitter streets; you never know what chaos could be lurking around the corner. Stay vigilant tomorrow.
- Former Brave Of The Day:
- Julio Teheran is on the board for the Tigers.. The former Brave allowed just one run in five innings as Detroit beat Cleveland 5-2 at Comerica Park.
- Quote Of The Game:
- “That’s all we got, one goddamn hit?”
- — Harry Doyle, Major League
- Tomorrow’s Goal:
- I’m going to lay out a lot of goals here instead of one just in the hopes that the Braves will hit some of them. Any or all of the following would be nice:
- Get a runner past first base
- Take a lead
- Get a hit with runners in scoring position
- Get a home run from a starter
- Win the game