Well, another four-game road series split. Considering we aren’t very good right now, I’ll take it. And also considering how depleted our starting rotation is, I will definitely take Kyle Muller‘s performance today. I saw Muller pitch for the Florida Fire Fogs a few years ago a few rows up right behind home plate, and I saw a big, tall Texan who was attacking hitters with a downhill delivery and taking a shutout into the 8th inning. It was no shock that Joey Wentz, who was taken 4 picks ahead of Muller in the 2016 draft, was traded and Muller remained. One of my biggest disappointments about the lost minor league season last year was that I thought Muller was uniquely in a position to take the leap to Atlanta. We’ve had to settle for him being our 9th option in 2021.
He worked efficient and quickly through the first few innings (the announcers said he was 11 seconds in between pitches at times), finally issuing a walk and needing quite a few pitches to get through the 3rd. He issued another walk in the 5th, and by the end of the 5th, he had thrown 93 pitches. Had he been a little more efficient, we might have reason to be more excited. His final line, for a rookie, was quite impressive, however: 5 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 9 K. This is entirely subjective, but I like the way he looks on the mound, his presence, and the way he attacks. Hopefully this is a start he can build off of.
The offense did enough. Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna both contributed home runs, and Riley also had a nice opposite field single against the shift. Abraham Almonte continues to turn into a pumpkin. Kevan Smith is a complete offensive zero who ended up with three strikeouts in four appearances.
We’re 37-40. We’re short two outfielders. We’re short pretty much an entire bench. There are 11 teams in MLB at least 8 games back and will probably be sellers. Some of them have players who can help us in the lineup or on the bench: Eduardo Escobar, Adam Duvall (up to a 99 wRC+!), Brian Reynolds, Adam Frazier (the only good thing to come out of Athens, GA), Nate Lowe, Justin Upton, Salvador Perez, Jonathan Schoop, and Trey Mancini, all of which who will be available in the coming weeks and won’t cost a franchise-altering prospect to acquire. I’m not yet ready to give up on this season, and I hope the Braves aren’t either.