Red Sox 9, Thorn in Our Side, 4

Kyle Wright has first poor outing; Braves lose 9-4 to Red Sox

Tuesday’s Braves-Red Sox series opener felt like a typical Kyle Wright start this season. Wright set down the first three Boston batters in order in the opening inning, and it appeared he was on his way to yet another strong outing. But everything changed rather quickly in the second. Following a groundout to short by Xander Bogaerts to lead off the frame, five-straight Red Sox batters reached base, resulting in a 2-0 deficit for the Braves. Wright’s second out finally came, though, as Austin Riley corralled an Enrique Rodriguez ground ball and got the forceout at home. However, needing one more out to get out of the jam, Rafael Devers made the Braves righty pay for such a sloppy start to the game. Devers launched a painful grand slam, and just like that Atlanta was down 6-0.

The Braves offense answered in the third, though. Matt Olson continued his MVP-like start to the year by leading off with a double to right, then shortly after advanced to third from a wild pitch by pitcher Garrett Whitlock. A walk by Austin Riley put runners on the corners with no outs, and following a mound visit by the Red Sox, Marcell Ozuna lifted a sac-fly to right to push in Olson. The deficit was then cut to just three, when two batters later, Travis d’Arnaud belted his third home run of the year. All of a sudden, the Braves were right back in it at 6-3.

Wright settled in during the fourth and fifth innings. He wasn’t necessarily sharp, but a double in the former, to go with a single and a walk in the latter frame was all he allowed over his final eight batters. That aforementioned free pass ended the former prospect’s day, with veteran Jesse Chavez taking over on the mound to get the final out of the fifth. A trio of Atlanta relievers – Tyler Matzek, Jackson Stephens and A.J. Minter – managed to keep things where they were for three innings. And in the seventh, the Braves offense rallied again when Ozuna knocked in Ronald Acuna Jr. with a ground ball, making it a 6-4 game.

However, in the top-half of the ninth, Boston pulled away. Tyler Thornburg came in to pitch the final frame, but he allowed the first five Red Sox batters to reach, capped off by a two-run, line drive single by Trevor Story.

Thornburg did a nice job of settling down and getting all three outs in consecutive fashion to limit any more runs. But the damage had been done, and unfortunately the Braves went down quietly in the bottom-half of the inning, as Dansby Swanson flew out and both Acuña and Olson struck out.

Fittingly, perhaps the two hottest hitters in Atlanta’s offense were the only ones to contribute towards the team’s tally on Tuesday, as Olson and d’Arnaud finished the game with two RBI apiece. The former will carry a .270 AVG into Wednesday, while the latter is currently sporting a solid .309 AVG.

The Braves and Red Sox will be back at it again on Wednesday for Game 2, with a 7:20 PM (ET) start time. Boston will go with veteran Nathan Eovaldi, with Atlanta opting for Ian Anderson. With this an interleague matchup, the Bravos need a win today to come away with a series split, before heading into Thursday’s off day and a tough weekend series at home against the Padres.

38 thoughts on “Red Sox 9, Thorn in Our Side, 4”

  1. Good job, Ryan.
    J.C.’d from previous thread:
    Asserting that the players don’t care about winning or succeeding; that they are not trying hard enough because they are complacent; that they figure they can coast until August–none of that is supported by any evidence and it makes no sense to me. Nobody on the Braves–players, coaching staff, front office–believes that playing sub .500 ball until August and then miraculously getting hot for a couple of months will work again this year. They would all prefer to win now, and by all accounts they work and practice hard for Snit. I agree with Alex that more intensity and a sense of urgency can be counter-productive and lead to pressing. Baseball is not like football or basketball, where intensity really is necessary, especially on defense. Baseball requires daily focus through the long grind of a regular season, which is a different mindset than urgency. One reason Bobby Cox won 14 straight division titles is that he insisted they avoid the highs and lows, and just keep plugging away game by game and series by series.

    Nick is absolutely right that games in April and May count the same as games in August and September, so it’s dangerous to fall too far behind. On the other hand, managers do need to take the long view with respect to bullpen and rotation management so as not to wear folks out, and also, as Rob points out, to see what you’ve got. The same is true for regulars, but interestingly Snit has never felt the need to give regular rest to his every day lineup. (FWIW, I do hope that Nick is right that RAJ’s special rules are over and that he will play most every day going forward.)

  2. Thanks for the h/t, Tfloyd, but I cannot take credit for this piece. I forgot to change the author’s name to Clint, the responsible party.

  3. Ryan “Plagiarismo” Cothran

    I was at the game last night, boy, that grand slam sure was deflating…

    I was sitting fairly high up down the right-field line, so it was difficult to tell how bad the umpiring was, but checking the scorecard this morning… boy, it was bad. Not that that’s why we lost, we had plenty of chances and left runners on base, but it’s never great when the umps are making sub-80% accuracy calls.

    Also, I really want to see d’Arnaud hitting cleanup tonight. He’s earned it. Ozuna’s not working right now.

  4. I saw Michael Harris last night. While he did strikeout twice, he did score from first on a double. He is so fast he didn’t draw a throw.

  5. Don’t think of it that way, Alex. Think of him as so bad he’s hitting after the 9th place hitter.

  6. Man, this lineup shows just how different this team is without RAJ–and how much we need him. The offensive falloff from Ronald to Arcia, and the defensive falloff from Ronald to Ozuna (how bad must Arcia be in the field to DH rather than Marcell?), is quite stark.

    Y’all may have seen that Acuña is experiencing tightness in his groin. As much as I hope the Ronald Rules of easing him in slowly are now behind us, it does make sense to be very cautious with things like this.

  7. I was watching “Ozark” the other night & when Ruth awkwardly throws a murder weapon (not very far) into the lake, I said, “Even she has a better arm than Ozuna.”

    Surprise us, fellas… somebody hit a 3-run HR. It’s our turn tonight.

  8. I gotta believe Waters is coming at least until Rosario comes back. Maybe on June 1st (or if Ronald goes on the 10-day IL). A defensive OF of Waters/Duvall/Demeritte would not be so bad. I’d rather see Contreras at DH than Arcia.

  9. Roger, I wish I shared your confidence in Waters. (BTW, that sentence makes me think of Pink Floyd). His offensive numbers at AAA numbers last year were not encouraging. I’m willing to believe that the forced year off in 2020 hindered his development, and that with more time at AAA he will develop into a productive hitter who makes better contact. But I’m not counting on anything from him this year. Of course I hope you’re right.

  10. Yeah I think they would add Gosselin to the roster when that time comes since it’s a bench spot. They want Waters playing everyday and he needs more development.

  11. Bowman says Acuña tweaked his groin. Hopefully it’s day to day. If he has to go to the IL then it probably would be Waters coming up to play part time.

  12. Why do the Red Sox hitters that hit .200 hit way better than ours that hit .200?

  13. So Cora did not appear too happy on that pitch. From my perspective, it was a little low, but I’ve seen a lot worse.

  14. The dead ball stole an extra base hit from TDA there.

    And a homer from Ozuna.

  15. Braves Radio still has a rotating in-game ad for Chick-Fil-A’s Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Sandwich but it’s been out of stores for a few weeks now.

  16. @28 That is a really good sandwich, and I await its return to the Tampa Bay stores.

  17. I’m happy with how this take aged:

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