How many times this year are we going to talk about a game where the baseball itself just doesn’t matter? Whether it’s games not mattering because of the big picture of the team or an injury during the game or an injury off the field in the case of Mike Soroka’s season, it just feels like 2021 is an entire season where the baseball games aren’t even pertinent.
Once again, Ronald Acuña Jr. suffered an injury scare in the middle of a game today. He was carted off the field after attempting to go for a catch in the fifth inning, and this one looked like the worst of all of his injuries. Obviously we’re still hoping for the best—if anyone can come out of this unscathed it’s probably Ronald—but it looked awful.
If Ronald is injured for any significant length of time, that would end the 2021 season for all intents and purposes. The Braves are already struggling for offense with Travis d’Arnaud injured and Dansby Swanson struggling.
The Braves did beat the Marlins 5-4 on Saturday to move back to .500 on the season, but taking the team leader in just about every major offensive category away from this lineup would be a hammer blow. Brian Snitker said they won’t have any more information until the morning, making Saturday night a sleepless one for Braves fans everywhere.
As for the game, it was pretty much standard operating procedure for the 2021 Braves. Freddie Freeman stayed red hot with three RBIs including what ended up being a game-winning home run in the fifth. Guillermo Heredia knocked in a run and had a good time with swords.
The starting pitching from Max Fried was erratic, but not a total disaster overall. Chris Martin and Luke Jackson were elite, and Will Smith made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth before holding on for the save.
All things considered, this team roughly is what it is. Given all of the injuries and underachieving, it is appropriately a .500 ballclub. But it’s a .500 team with Ronald Acuña Jr. in the fold. It’s a .500 team with all of the times he has gotten the Braves out of jail with an incredible night at the plate or a great play in the field. And for all the times where we have wondered what this team would look like without its superstar right fielder, we might be about to get our answer.
And as with everything else involving the 2021 Braves, there’s really only one thing to do. We just have to hope for the best, but brace for the worst.