This is just about survival right now.
The Braves beat the Cubs 5-2 at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon to climb to 6-8 on the season, but the injury bug kept gnawing away at Brian Snitker’s ballclub. Today the baseball gods spun the Wheel of Injuries twice, giving Ender Inciarte a hamstring problem while he was running the bases in the fourth and hitting Ozzie Albies with a pitch on the knee in the ninth.
Inciarte and Albies join a worryingly long list of injuries that already includes Max Fried, Cristian Pache, Drew Smyly, Chris Martin and Mike Soroka. The season is only 14 games old, and the roster already looks like a M*A*S*H* unit.
Every day is a battle just to make it another day until the roster gets healthier. Even staying near the .500 line with his many key contributors out is going to be tough, but grinding out wins in ugly baseball games like today is exactly how you do it.
Hopefully Albies and Inciarte made it through the grind enough to help out again soon.
- For the second consecutive day, Ender Inciarte was the unsung hero. He started yesterday’s game-winning rally with an 0-2 base hit, and today he slapped a base hit into left field with two outs in the fourth inning later. Four batters and one pulled hamstring later, the Braves had a 4-1 lead that ended up being the difference in the game. We might still be playing without Inciarte getting that base hit.
- Speaking of the fourth inning, Kyle Wright picked up a hit! After approximately 78 million consecutive games where the Braves allowed a hit to the opposing pitcher, finally one went their way as part of a big inning! Hopefully someone thought to grab that baseball.
- Every Kyle Wright start is a double-edged sword it seems. The good news for him is he gave the Braves a little bit of length in a spot where they desperately needed it, and he pitched well in tough spots. Not to have you immediately close this page in a fit of ugly flashbacks, but his last first inning was pretty ugly. Today he allowed the first two base runners of the game to reach and it could have spiraled, but he (with the help of a nice play from Albies) got out of the jam without allowing a run. It’s an adage as old as baseball itself, but he kept his team in the game.
- I don’t really know what else to say about Ronald Acuña Jr. at this point. Once again today he showed his growth as a player by working back from an 0-2 count to serve a 3-2 sinker into right field for a two-run single. He then decided he was bored with trotting home on home runs, so he decided to spring home from second on an infield hit from Marcell Ozuna. He is playing Major League Baseball like a video game on rookie mode, and we all get to watch it every day.
- The Braves got some BABIP luck? Some infield hits that kept a big inning going? In this economy? They sure did.
- Grant Dayton is, in fact, a member of this team and not just a warm body in the bullpen.He only faced two batters, but he retired both to get the ball rolling for the relief corps in the fifth.
- Three hits for Marcell Ozuna today. The big bear is waking up from his winter hibernation.
- Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward laughing and hugging at first base forever. For-ev-er.
- Yes, we have to talk about the other side of the Kyle Wright coin. He hit four batters, all right-handed, all in either the elbow or the mid-section. And the worst part is none of them were with fastballs, the pitch he seemed to be struggling the most to command. He pulled the string on a few sliders and wiggled out of trouble, but that had a lot to do with a lineup in the middle of a torrid slump. If he gets another start, his command is going to have to be a lot better than it was tonight.
- The Cubs as a team entered today hitting .163. I don’t need to tell you how abhorrent that is. And yet even down by three runs in the ninth against the worst-hitting lineup in the sport right now, Will Smith issued three walks. He looked almost scared to throw his fastball, baffling considering the current Cubs would swing and miss in a backyard tee ball game. At a certain point it’s also on Travis d’Arnaud to start calling more fastballs in that situation, but Smith also needs to locate better. His rocky start to 2021 continued in a big way at Wrigley.
- #StopHittingBravesCatchers needs to just become #StopHittingBravesPlayers at this point. Hopefully Ozzie can shake it off in a day or two; he looked like he was writhing in pain after that Justin Steele pitch got him on the knee.
- Freddie Freeman is still snakebitten. He was robbed with two diving stops today; Eric Sogard threw him out from the cut of the grass in the first inning, and Joc Pederson made a diving catch on a deep drive in the eighth. Is the tax for winning the MVP terrible BABIP luck the following season?
Former Brave Of The Day:
In Former Brave on Former Brave crime tonight at Globe Life Park, Rio Ruiz took Mike Foltynewicz deep for a solo home run in the fourth inning. Ruiz has two home runs in as many weeks to start the season for the Orioles.
Quote Of The Game:
“I will survive…”
— Gloria Gaynor
Just stay healthy. The injuries have to stop.