Braves 7, Pirates 1

Arrr, they be good for what ails ye. Austin Riley clubbed 2 more homers and drove in 5 runs, and Dansby Swanson added a 2 run shot to lead the Braves to their 3rd straight win over the Pirates.

Riley now has 9 homers and is hitting .320/.414/.549, with the .320 good for 4th in the NL. The professionals are putting Riley’s latest streak into perspective. This from David O’Brien. And this from Mark Bowman.

Max Fried went 7 innings for the first time this season; the 3rd time any Braves pitcher has achieved that this season. Fried allowed 4 hits and the run, and walked 3. He threw 87 pitches and struck out 2. I’ll trade 7 strikeouts for 7 innings any day.

Swanson now has 8 homers, and has raised his batting average from .203 to .237 in the last 8 days. Hopefully he’s on his way to familiar territory, and also a reminder that there’s still time to get Marcell Ozuna going. To be fair, although they were starting from about the same point, Marcell’s familiar territory is a piece past Dansby’s.

Riley will surely cool, but it’s great to watch his hot streaks. If he’s got enough figured out to avoid his total collapses, it’s going to be exciting to watch him progress the next 2 – 3 years.

Ozzie Albies went 2 for 3 and scored 3 runs. With a day off on Monday, Chris Martin and Edgar Santana finished up uneventfully.

At Boston on Tuesday; Charlie Morton and Garrett Richards scheduled.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

56 thoughts on “Braves 7, Pirates 1”

  1. No offense to the good people of the Iron City, but as much as I’m glad we can beat Georgia Tech, I hope we can play this well against a team that’s trying to win in the majors.

  2. Keep it weird Austin – – or whatever makes it click!

    Folks – – I’m envious of the Rays – – who have won 10 in a row. Dang.

    I mean 3 is good. But the grass is always greener I guess…

  3. 10 in a row, well one an dream. I just want a two weeks or even 10-days of good baseball. An 8-2 (or better!) run would be a nice confidence booster.

    In regards to Riley, streaky hitter or All-Star, why not both? He could have a hot first half, make the All-Start team and then fade. That would be like a reverse Adam LaRoche. But if he keeps this up, well, that goes along way to making this offense go from good to scary.

  4. @1

    @Boston, @Mets, vs. Washington, vs. Dodgers coming up, so we shall know quickly.

  5. So how long are they going to leave Marcell Ozuna broken? We’re 200 AB into the season, and whatever he has done has undone all the progress of last year. I think he’s too focused on increasing launch angle in a year when fly balls are notoriously coming down at the warning track as opposed to the stands. He should shift his focus towards line drives.

  6. @8

    You’re assuming they’re not already working on stuff? They’re not gonna bench him or send him to the minors (if they even can send him to the minors). They’re paying way too much money for any of that.

    @Rob from last thread on Riley

    I think we should give him this year before we proclaim him officially streaky. He was streaky last year, but then last year was very weird. May he’ll stay at a higher level if given a chance this year. Regardless, even if he’s streaky, he’s certainly good enough to be our starting third baseman without everyone sniffing around looking to replace him with Johan Freaking Camargo every time he has a bad week.

  7. @8 I think your launch angle observation has merit. Seems like he is pulling off the ball more than he did last year. I am sure they are working on stuff and they can’t really bench him but maybe flip he and Riley around and see if it helps. Right now he isn’t producing much as a #3 hitter and Riley has been having good at bats with a lot of walks all season.

  8. @9 Of particular concern were Riley’s last two ABs (KOs with wild swings and misses). I think there’s the possibility that any time he loses focus or doesn’t strictly adhere to what he’s learned then he falls back into the old ruts very quickly. There’s an article that states that Riley is not merely satisfied with where he is and will continue trying to learn and improve and I think that’s critical for his future. I really think that, if he continues to apply himself continuously, then he will not be streaky.

  9. @10 There may be two different things going on with Ozuna. If he was not missing the same pitches he’s missing this year (outside breaking balls) then pulling off may be the problem. But if he was not swinging at the breaking balls off the plate outside last year then the problem is strike zone management. To me, it seems like he’s swinging at a lot of pitches he has no business swinging at. Although, I’m willing to admit that I may not have noticed last year when he was actually hitting everything hard.

  10. For the Mets, deGrom is scheduled to return tomorrow night vs Col.

    So that means we may face him on the Sunday night ESPN game, possibly vs. Fried.

    Helluva TV match-up.

  11. @9

    Riley’s been streaky every year he’s been a pro and that dates back to 2015. That’s a pretty good sample.

  12. @15 – You could probably say that about a majority of players as they navigate through the minor leagues. Riley started off strong in Rookie ball and took a while to master every level as he advanced. The encouraging trend I see is that after initial struggles he improved over the course of the year and never had a wasted year or more like you see in some players. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see anything shockingly streaky from an 18 year old kid developing in the minor league system. The only implication I get is a strong work ethic.

  13. I guess I should explain a little more. I understand streakiness within a season and don’t discount that with Riley, but it still seems that most of the streakiness in the minors came as he went from one level to the next.

  14. To be fair, it was against a AAAA team.

    Edit: Dang, I should have lead with “AAAAR” instead of “Arrr.”

  15. @11

    Yes, those two wipeouts were extraordinary. I have a theory, deliberate indulgence. His two homers within the last hour were on the record and had greatly helped ensure the win. Goof off for a moment or two, remind yourself how awful it felt and what it must have looked like. Never again, let’s hope.

  16. @19, and barely that.

    I’ll eat my crow for now on Riley as he does seem to be improving/improved.

    Mind hasn’t been changed about the trajectory of the season, though.

    A couple games over .500 may win the East this season, though as none of these teams will be confused with the ’27 Yankees.

  17. As you guys have pointed out, 3 wins against the Pirates, even outscoring them 33 to 3, are not proof that the season has changed trajectory. However, I’m feeling pretty confident that our starting pitching has changed its trajectory after a 2 to 3 week turnaround, despite losing our best starter. With more innings from our starters, some notable attrition, and the addition of Shane Greene, I’m convinced our bullpen will be better. If our hitters just come close to expectations, which they seem to be trending towards, I don’t see how you can say that our trajectory hasn’t changed. I think we will be much closer to 90 or even 95 wins than 80 wins before the season is over.

  18. I feel like the Braves are slowly waking up, but then at the same time Acuna has turned in a clunker of a May. If we ever get both Acuna and the rest of the lineup on at the same time, we’ll probably win a bunch of games.

  19. @ #24

    Remember when Justin Upton would only hit in months that begin with the letter A? It could be worse.

  20. @25, your memory is pretty good. Justin Upton’s career slugging % in August is .494. In April, it’s .491. In every other month, his slugging % is between .460 and .483. That’s in about 1200 PA in each month (with any March games counted as April and October regular-season games as September). His OPS totals show a similar pattern, though that’s all because of the slugging %. Hitting well in August isn’t surprising, but April? Maybe he’s like Acuna and starts strong before he gets dinged up.

  21. I’ve been surprised at Justin Upton’s decline. I would not have pegged him as a player who would have no value after age 30.

  22. Fellars, forgive me. My time has been cut short with an Atlanta trip, graduation, and wife traveling, so I’m riding solo with the kids. I’ll be back in full force by the weekend.

  23. It’s hard to believe that Justin Upton is still only 33. Except for 2017, he seemed to reach his peak in Atlanta and he was only 25 and 26 at the time. Even then, with his collapse after August and declining defense, he was playing like a 33 year old.

  24. True, but Melvin Jr. had to use a long swing to generate power. It just looked easier for JUp..

  25. RE: JUpton

    I chalk it up to the post PEDs era. Everyone begins a downward trend around age 30. Usually by 35, they’re ready to retire unless they’ve locked some unfortunate team to a long contract.

    I certainly do miss the days of players still experiencing their prime into their early 30s and some guys hanging on playing baseball into their 40s.

  26. Riley has now struck out in four consecutive ABs. This last one after a 3-0 count. I hate complacency. Needs to go back to his singles and walks approach.

  27. “Braves wasted a chance to score”. Uhh, Chip, two guys hit absolute rockets right at fielders. Shut up.

    Related, I can’t tell which team is more lucky to be where they are, us or them.

  28. Neurosis can arrive quickly when your favorite POW guy strikes out 5 times in a row to your total disbelief. Feast/Famine/wtf…

    Ronald much help with a rbi. Charlie magnificent under pressure.

  29. @38 I think it was 4 K’s, the fifth AB was a tapper to the pitcher.

    Hmmm…. Adrianza has lost much of his luster recently….

    Edit: yeah, what Putter said.

  30. Morton’s ERA is now under 4.00. He was brilliant tonight but awfully lucky in the 1st and 2nd.

  31. Ummm why is Santana pitching the 8th ?!?!

    Snitker is definitely trolling us

    Good thing Martin pitched in the 6-1 game, right?

  32. Why on earth is Snit going to Santana instead of Martin? Martin had a day off and if he is still unavailable he shouldn’t have pitched in a blowout on Sunday

    Edit- what Carl said

  33. I can’t believe they are going with Santana. We need both of those runs to avoid HR-prone Smith.

  34. Now Chip is saying some lies, saying that Martin pitched twice in a row last series and is unavailable. That is BS.

    Maybe I misunderstood him, but now he is saying that Martin is overused? that is more BS.

    Great play Contreras!

  35. Since returning, Martin has appeared in a high percentage of the team’s games.

    Santana in in a close game. Hey, we need more high leverage guys. Hope he can handle it.

  36. @ I get what Chip said Snit is saying, but Martin was out for a month and hasn’t been over used

  37. @49
    Martin has pitched 5 times in 25 days of May.

    May 13, 15, 19, 20, 23

    That 23rd game was the pirates blowout.
    That doesn’t seem like overuse, just saying.

    Anyway, it all worked out, good thing the sox bailed him out by swinging at balls.

  38. Didn’t he get activated shortly before the 13th? I can see them wanting to ease him back into the action, all I’m saying.

  39. @53
    I guess it would be nice to have him healthy in the postseason if they make it that far. I get what you mean.
    He has pitched 6.2 innings all year in the majors…thats another way of looking at it.

    I guess I was more shellshocked by having santana come in….would’ve guessed Minter or Luke jackson just because you usually know what you are getting with them.

    I thought Santana was supposed to be a control pitcher; it seems the coaching staff got him to throw more balls….the ATL way.

  40. I’m glad Santana succeeded but he got a lot of help from the ump and the Sox. Not gonna complain about the ump after all the pitches Santana got.

    Does anyone believe Morton was better because he didn’t have to hit?

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