It’s not terribly exciting, but this is how it’s supposed to look.
The Braves caught the Milwaukee Brewers at the exact right time. Not only did they get a lucky draw missing both Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, Christian Yelich is on the IL and the Brewers were 3-8 in their last 11 before this series.
Sometimes the schedule gives you a bad break, such as catching the Toronto Blue Jays while their entire lineup was hotter than the surface of the sun…twice. And sometimes the schedule serves up some wins on a plate, and you have to take advantage.
Of course all of us would prefer to see the Braves actually do this against the top teams in the National League, but that’s not the situation right now. All you can do is beat who’s on the schedule, and the schedule right now is a battered Brewers ballclub. And other than the bottom of the seventh—we’ll get there—that’s exactly what it was supposed to be. An uneventful win.
One more opportunity tomorrow, and then it’s time to get serious with the Mets in town.
- For the 250th time in his career, Freddie Freeman trotted around the bases after hitting a dinger. Not that you really need it, but nice round numbers like #250 serve as a good reminder that Freddie Freeman is one of the greatest Atlanta Braves of this generation. He is to kids today what Hank was in the 70s, Dale was in the 80s and Chipper was in the 90s. Milestones like that just put it further into that perspective.
- Marcell Ozuna? Back. Ozzie Albies? Back. Put those two bats together with a (soon to be) healthy Ronald Acuña Jr. and a surging Austin Riley? That’s a lineup right there, folks. And more specifically, it’s a lineup opposing pitchers really won’t want to deal with.
- Of course the circumstances behind it were terrible with Travis d’Arnaud’s injury, but can we talk about William Conteras? That’s a dude. He just has that easy power out to right center field that makes it so hard for opposing pitchers to piece together a game plan against. He’s also oblivious to the fact that catching in the majors is supposed to be hard, stealing strikes and calling pitches like a 10-year veteran. He’s Crash Davis with a better bat, except he hasn’t told a pitcher to throw one at the mascot. Yet. Bernie Brewer might want to keep his head on a swivel tomorrow.
- Speaking of the pitching, Ian Anderson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on a night where he was very clearly off. Obviously the walks dampened the outing a bit, but it’s so nice to have a pitcher capable of grinding out his bad outings.
- Chris Martin: The calming presence in the bullpen we all need.
- The NL East went 0-4 today, pulling the Braves—almost unbelievably—within two games of first place. Seriously, two games. How is that even possible?
- Alright, who else had a doomsday scenario in mind during the seventh? How many times can you get away with two barrels in an inning only allowing one run, especially when there was a bloop single and a walk sprinkled in? In fact Milwaukee only had two barrels all day, and both of them were in the seventh. That inning could’ve gone very differently, and in the bigger picture it’s just a reminder that no lead is really safe with the current bullpen. Even down 4-0 without a hit all night, the Brewers came within about 10 feet of tying the game on Lorenzo Cain’s deep flyout.
- I’m a big believer in viewing things fairly, and more specifically that if you apply one set of rules to one player it’s only fair to apply them to another. In 2019 when everyone was yelling and screaming about how Ender Inciarte was untenable as a big league player—and the Braves themselves decided that was true by calling up Adam Duvall and starting Matt Joyce in the playoffs—Inciarte had a wRC+ of 93.
Dansby Swanson currently has a 77 wRC+. He’s 1-for-19 in the last five games and had four swings and misses on the 12 pitches he saw tonight. He can’t even fall back on his defense right now; he only has one defensive run saved in almost 40 games after finishing the 60-game 2020 season with nine. Yes, his BABIP is low. Yes, his exit velocity is about on par with his career numbers right now. But is Swanson a tenable big league player right now? Can you honestly say it’s not at least worth giving Ehire Adrianza a look at shortstop once Acuña re-claims his spot in right field? It’s something to at least consider at this point.
- The Braves left seven runners on base in the first four innings, and five of them were in scoring position. That game had no business being as stressful as it was.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Mike Minor cooled off one of the hottest offenses in baseball, allowing just two hits in seven innings for the Royals in their 5-1 win over the White Sox in Chicago.
Quote Of The Game:
“It’s the right guys at the right time.”
— Chip Caray, numerous occasions
Even before this series started, it looked like a good opportunity for a sweep given the circumstances. You have Huascar Ynoa on the mound with a chance to grab it tomorrow. Go for the kill.