In a lot of ways, it’s perfect that Dansby Swanson had the big night tonight. He has been the streakiest member of the Braves for almost his entire tenure with the club, trading off two red hot weeks for another two down in a strikeout binge since 2017. His stats often play jump rope with the league-average marks, dancing above and below the lines in a predictable pattern. When he’s struggling, it’s really tough to watch.
But when it’s working? That swing is absolutely beautiful. And for the most inconsistent team in baseball–one that has now gone 16 consecutive games without a streak–Swanson is the perfect poster child of the experience.
Tonight was one of the good nights though Swanson homered twice and knocked in seven runs, highlighted by a foul-pole thumping grand slam off John Curtiss in the seventh inning that blew the game open.
Like everything else with the 2021 Braves, Swanson is a case study in inconsistency. It’s fitting he was at the center of a big win that kept this team’s bizarre run of alternating wins and losses going.
- Seven RBIs for number seven. What an incredible performance, including two really good at-bats in his home runs. Both times he was down to his last strike but managed to work himself ahead or at least even, and got a pitch to drive into seats. After he flew out on the first pitch of a high-leverage at-bat last night, that was a really refreshing change of pace.
- Kyle Muller just might be pitching his way into the 2022 starting rotation. He has such an impressive presence on the mound for a rookie, never shying away from any opposing hitter or from trusting his own stuff. He only went five innings tonight, but you can see the wheels really starting to spin for him.
- Welcome to Atlanta, Richard Rodriguez! I could get used to innings like his eighth tonight.
- Welcome to Atlanta, Jorge Soler! The most important play of the entire game was him hustling down the line to beat out a ground ball in the seventh inning after Willy Adames made a great diving stop on his line drive. Soler forced a rush throw that resulted in a run, which kept the inning alive for Swanson’s grand slam. He also had two hits before his infield one in the seventh.
- Don’t forget the two good innings from Jesse Chavez and Tyler Matzek while the game was still in doubt, too. They held the Brewers at bay long enough for the offense to take over.
- Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies had two hits apiece tonight and it just feels like it was standard procedure with how hot they are. That’s a great position to be in.
- For the second day in a row the Braves made one of the best pitchers in the league work hard. Brandon Woodruff was more effective than Corbin Burnes, but he never got into a stretch of overwhelming hitters like he has to plenty of hitters this season.
- He’s not the second coming of Johnny Bench, but isn’t it nice to watch Stephen Vogt at the plate knowing he’s not Kevan Smith? That bat at least feels like it’s capable of doing something, and it did with another base hit tonight.
- These feel like famous last words, but the Braves have an actual opportunity to break this streak tomorrow and string two wins together. They’ve got Charlie Morton on the mound and have already faced the two best pitchers the Brewers can throw at them. Now that i’ve said that they’re going to lose 4-1, but maybe tomorrow is the day?
- It’s a minor nitpick in an 8-1 win, but the Braves had another runner thrown out on the basepaths. That’s three in the last four games, all at either third base or home. It’s a little thing, but it adds up in games tighter than tonight’s was.
Former Brave Of The Day:
Matt Wisler picked up five crucial outs for the Rays in what was a one-run game at the time against the Red Sox before Tampa blew it open for a 9-5 win that vaulted Kevin Cash’s team to the top spot in the AL East.
Quote Of The Game:
“Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”
– Ernie Harwell