Why is this night different from all other nights?
It is a night when many remember an ancient and stirring story of freedom, liberation from oppression, and justice.
It is also a night when many remember a story of suffering and sacrifice that turns into redemption and resurrection.
It is also a night when many are in a month of remembering revelation and observing fasting, charity, and spiritual discipline.
April 15 this year is a rare convergence of the first night of Passover, Good Friday, and Ramadan all at the same time.
It so happens that April 15 is the anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. He was shot by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, which was on April 14 in 1865. He died the next day, on Holy Saturday.
As you probably know, April 15 is also one of the most significant days in baseball history. This is Jackie Robinson Day, the 75th anniversary of his major league debut.
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It’s perhaps not quite as significant as the above events and observances, but the Braves played a baseball game in San Diego on this April 15. And what a really satisfying baseball game it was. Kyle Wright and four relievers dominated, striking out 16 Padres and holding them to two runs. Adam Duvall had a big tie-breaking two run double in the 7th, and the Braves won 5-2.
Wright took the hill for the Braves in his second start of the young season—and he was brilliant for the second start in a row. Wright went five terrific innings, with nine strikeouts and no walks. Unfortunately, a hit batsmen and two bloops led to two runs in the 5th.
That tied it at 2-2. The Braves had taken a 2-0 lead on a third inning homer by Ozzie and a double by Riley and RBI single by Ozuna in the 4th. Otherwise, though, they had no luck against McKenzie Gore, who was making his big league debut.
Wright and Gore had each been drafted in the first five picks of the 2017 draft. (As was, by the way, the Reds’ Hunter Greene, who made his big league debut against the Braves last week.) Gore had his struggles working his way to the bigs, but he looked sharp in his debut tonight. On this night, Wright and Gore each went 5 innings and gave up two runs.
It became a battle of the bullpens beginning in the 6th. Minter had a perfect 6th and O’Day a perfect 7th, and each struck out two. Despite getting men on, the Braves couldn’t break through against the Padres’ relievers in the 6th and 7th. In the top of the 8th, though, Riley and d’Arnaud each singled and a double by Duvall drove them both in. An infield hit by Heredia, a walk by Arcia, and a wild pitch brought home another run.
So 5-2 heading to the bottom of the 8th. Matzek did his job holding them scoreless in the 8th. Still 5-2 going to the bottom of the 9th , Jansen got them 3 up 3 down with 2 K’s. He got a “Braves save” a week ago, but this was his first real save.
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The historic and religious events of April 15 remind us that there are more important things in this world than baseball. Not many, to be sure, but a few. They certainly put our Atlanta Braves rather lackluster start in perspective. A 3-5 record was not what most expected after the high of the team’s first World Series Championship of the millennium.
But one solid win like this one also helps with perspective. These Braves are going to be fine. The single best thing about this game was the performance of Kyle Wright. He won’t finish the year with an ERA of 1.64, but he sure appears to be the real deal. And by the way, Fried and Morton will finish with ERAs lower than 5.73 and 6.10. The bullpen is dynamite and the lineup is deep—especially when Ronald returns in two weeks. As I said last week, it’s a great time to be a Braves fan.
Ian Anderson tries to get back on track in a day game on Saturday. The Padres counter with a journeyman whose name I can’t remember. Time to go on a streak.