That game really was a perfect microcosm for the entire season in that the only thing to feel after it is frustration. Like so many games this year, that was one the Braves should have won. They led 4-0 in the first inning and even after falling behind 8-4, had ample opportunities to claw back into the game and never made it happen before ultimately falling 9-5 to the MIlwaukee Brewers.
Whether it was Touki Toussaint being one strike away from getting out of the third inning relatively unharmed or the terrible execution to lose a potential big inning in the fifth or wasting two baserunners with the middle of the order up in the seventh, that game was there for the taking.
But the Braves didn’t take it, and that has been the biggest difference of this entire season from the previous three.
- Even beyond just tonight, the most positive development in this entire (seemingly) lost season has been Austin Riley’s growth at the plate. In four months he has gone from a player people were wondering about the future of to a cemented part of the core who is living up the potential he flashed in 2019. The red hot third baseman hit his 22nd home run of the season tonight with a first inning shot off Corbin Burnes.
- Joc Pederson is always going to be a very hot-and-cold player just by the nature of his splits and career streakiness, but tonight was a hot night. Three hits for the lead-off hitter including a double off Burnes.
- Josh Tomlin was good. No, seriously. He threw two clean innings while the game was still close.
- Welcome back, Adam Duvall! He even added an RBI on his return to the club.
- The Braves drew two walks off Corbin Burnes in the same inning! He only had 18 walks in 102 innings all season coming into action tonight. Hey, sometimes you have to take solace in the small victories.
- It’s all about the next start for Touki Toussaint now. Was tonight a blip on the radar against the hottest lineup in the league, one coming off a 28-run series in Pittsburgh? Or was it a sign of things to come after two great starts to open his 2021 account? Hopefully it was the former, but only time will tell after a brutal outing tonight.
- Speaking of brutal outings, I think we can go ahead and call the re-signing of Shane Greene a swing and a miss. A debacle, even. He has never found his footing this season and suddenly it’s becoming clear why 29 other teams weren’t interested in his services over the winter.
- The air really came out of the balloon on two plays in the fifth inning. First, it was Dansby Swanson hacking at the first pitch from new pitcher Brad Boxburger and flying out while representing the tying run. Then Stephen Vogt flew out to center, but Jackie Bradley Jr. threw out Austin Riley at third base to end the frame. Why even send Riley with two outs? Why test one of the best outfield arms in the league? The whole inning was a disaster and the Braves never really recovered from it.
- It’s really hard not to watch a bullpen as lethal as Milwaukee’s and wonder where this team could be with anything like that. Or think about where they were last year when this team actually did have something resembling that. Sigh.
- Dansby Swanson’s error in the second inning didn’t directly lead to a run, but it felt like a big play in the game. Swanson booted a tailor-made double play, and that allowed the Brewers to send two more batters to the plate and clear the pitcher in the second inning. Maybe it just would’ve delayed the inevitable, but the four-run third inning the Brewers put together might never have been without the top of the order starting it off instead of the bottom two spots in the lineup.
- Sean Newcomb allowed five hits tonight and only recorded five outs. He amazingly only yielded one run, but are we about done here? He’s still the same pitcher he was in 2017, and at a certain point it’s just unrealistic to expect further development or something different to pop up in his repertoire. He is who he is.
- All eight Milwaukee position players recorded a hit. Needless to say, it’s pretty tough to get anywhere when that happens.
- 7-8 since the break and still no streak.The streak will be in jeopardy against Woodruff tomorrow, but it’s almost unfathomable how long it has gone on.
- For a really brief moment there things felt good. Four trades today, one of them already in the lineup and a 4-0 lead out of the gate against one of the best teams in the National League. It kind of felt like there was some reason for optimism, but of course that was emphatically wiped off the page in the space of two innings.
Former Brave Of The Day:
He didn’t play anywhere today, but I’m just going to give the nod to Bryse Wilson. Thank you for one of the most surreal, incredible starting pitching performances in Atlanta Braves history last October. I hope he cracks the starting rotation and thrives in Pittsburgh.
Quote Of The Game:
“Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”
— Babe Ruth
I would like to see Kyle Muller take Brandon Woodruff deep tomorrow for his first big league summer. It’s a longshot,but Woodruff himself once took Clayton Kershaw deep in a postseason game. We might as well dream of something extraordinary in the midst of this lost season.