Yay, I finally get a win! And possibly our most impressive win of the year to this point, at that. I hesitate to write this, as it’s possibly just as likely that things go back down the crapper again, but this was actually a pretty good week (and yes, this is a Monday to Sunday week, which makes sense because series end on Sunday…plus it allows me to include today and ignore last Sunday’s uninspiring loss to Texas!). Splitting four in New York and then taking a series from the Brewers is a little bit more like it.
There was a four-inning stretch of this game where the Braves scored in every inning, bookended by a four-run second and a three-run fifth. The home side enjoyed some luck today, which is never a bad thing. In the second, they loaded the bases on singles by Ozzie Albies and Travis Demeritte and a walk of Dansby Swanson. Then, Brewers starter Aaron Ashby walked William Contreras to force in the first run of the game and Ronald Acuna hit into a force out at second to drive in the second. Matt Olson followed with a bloop double off the end of the shortstop’s glove to bring two more around and suddenly the Braves had a 4-0 lead despite the fact that they weren’t exactly crushing the ball all over the yard.
Adam Duvall did a decent job of that the next inning, though. He homered into the Chop House seats in right field to make it 5-0.
The luck turned the other way a bit in the fourth in an inning that, honestly, would’ve been pretty frustrating had it happened in a tight game. Atlanta loaded the bases with nobody out, only to score one measly run on a wild pitch. Marcell Ozuna came close to salvaging the inning with two outs, smacking a ball to the warning track in center, but Lorenzo Cain made the catch. Still, the Braves had a 6-0 lead.
And it would only get better in the fifth, when William Contreras flat-out launched a three-run homer into the seats in left-center. If you’re wondering why the Braves are toying with the idea of playing him in the field somewhere to maybe get his bat into the lineup (and I must admit the thought did cross my mind), I guess that would be why.
Meanwhile, Charlie Morton was pretty good. Without doubt, he made a big positive step with his performance this afternoon. He only really struggled in the top of the second, and it was a jam he managed to wiggle out of. He sandwiched a Tyrone Taylor single between walks by Hunter Renfroe and Omar Narvaez, loading the bases with one out in a scoreless game. But he struck out Cain on a payoff pitch in a dark horse contender for biggest at-bat of the game, then got former Brave Jace Peterson to fly out to end the threat. The next time Milwaukee came up to bat, they were down 4-0. After that, Morton danced around minor trouble here and there, but he can build on 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K.
The only minor fly in the ointment was the continued struggles of Tyler Matzek, this time entered into the game in a spot where he could do little damage, his team up 9-0 in the eighth. He allowed a couple runs and a walk and looked to still be struggling to find much of the strike zone, although even he induced a double-play grounder (albeit one that almost whistled right past his head) to get himself into a position where he could get out of the inning. So it’s eminently possible that he found something positive to take home from today, as well.
The whole season up to this point has been somewhere between OK and not very good, but I have to say this is the first series and week after which I’ve really felt positive about this team this year (at least for something they did this year). We’ve got a couple more series on this homestand, with two against Boston midweek and three against San Diego this weekend, so let’s see if we can build on this!