Y’all are probably pretty sick of my byline here, huh? Let’s review the last five times I have recapped a game here on Braves Journal.
- Huascar Ynoa had his only bad start of the season in a 13-4 loss at Wrigley Field.
- The Braves squeaked out a nervy 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- Drew Smyly allowed six home runs in a 13-5 loss in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.
- The Braves coughed up a 4-0 lead against those same Blue Jays in yet another extra innings loss, 6-5.
- In the first game back with a full capacity since 2019, Charlie Morton failed to get out of the first inning and the Braves lost 12-2 to the Phillies.
Put it all together and you get a 1-4 record with an abhorrent 48-21 aggregate on runs against the Braves. To paraphrase Brad Pitt in Moneyball there’s great teams, good teams, average teams, bad teams, 50 feet of crap and then finally the Braves when I am the one recapping the game here.
Guess who’s back with you tomorrow night?
- There was a full crowd in the ballpark! Even though all of them were about ready to blow their brains out approximately 15 minutes in, it was still really cool to see that at Truist Park.
- Marcell Ozuna and Dansby Swanson had two more hits each. Slowly but surely, they might be heating up.
- Josh Tomlin carried the game from the first inning through to the fifth. Someone has to eat the innings and he did a nice job.
- At least the Braves didn’t have a zoo in the clubhouse tonight?
- It was pretty clear from the start Charlie Morton didn’t have a grip on his fastball. The first inning hits from J.T. Realmuto and Alec Bohm were both on fastballs that leaked over the plate, and even on his walk to Zach Eflin he threw three two-strike pitches and couldn’t put away the opposing pitcher with it. Something has been clearly off with that pitch for a few starts now.
- In the big picture, Morton is in the same boat Drew Smyly was before his last start in Washington, and arguably still is in. He was an important free agent starting pitcher signing who was supposed to give the rotation depth it didn’t have last year, and the early returns have been frankly terrible. His ERA is now 6.55 and the Braves are 2-5 in his seven starts. Sooner or later if you take enough shots on one-year deals you’re bound to swing and miss. It’s too early to call this one a miss, but it definitely hasn’t been a hit yet.
- Soooo, Freddie Freeman. Another 0-for-4 night tonight and his batting average is down at a cool .195. Obviously he’s Freddie Freeman and you trust him to dig out of it, but it’s going to be pretty hard for this lineup to get anything moving while he is struggling like this. What’s the solution? Burning more sage? Changing the walk-up song to Baby Shark for his kids like the 2019 Nationals did? A move down the lineup back to his usual third spot? If you have any ideas, feel free to comment.
- ::Scratches Carl Edwards Jr. off the list of right-handed relievers who are going to save the day for this bullpen::
- It probably was only a matter of time before things went haywire given how flat Morton looked, but he probably could’ve gotten out of the first down 1-0 if not for the dropped third strike. Maybe it would’ve delayed the inevitable, but there’s no point in wondering now.
- Hunter Wendelstedt. That’s it. That’s the negative.
- Cristian Pache has a .406 OPS. We knew his bat was going to struggle early on, but I think we would all love to see him struggling. This is beyond struggling and at the point of being a black hole in the lineup.
- The Braves have been outscored 25-3 in the last two games with a full capacity crowd.
- Alright y’all, it’s time for an honest reality: The Phillies are pretty good right now. It doesn’t mean they will be all year or that you should write off the division, but this team has one thing it hasn’t really since the days of Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay–starting rotation depth. Zach Eflin is rounding into shape as a solid asset behind Aaron Nola, and the Braves have already seen what Zack Wheeler can do when he’s healthy. Their bullpen isn’t lighting the world on fire, but it’s also not lighting itself on fire like it was last season. The lineup is getting big contributions from the depth pieces, especially at shortstop with Jean Segura.
Obviously it’s early, but one thing is very striking about this team right now. Both in terms of roster construction and actual production, the 2021 Phillies currently look a lot like the 2021 Braves were supposed to look like.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Justin Upton cranked a solo home run off Julio Urias in the second inning of the Freeway Series at Angel Stadium tonight.
Quote Of The Game:
“We made too many wrong mistakes.”
— Yogi Berra
Give me a freaking win to write about, please. This is getting ridiculous.