Braves 4, Fish 3

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Who’da thunk it? When Ronald Acuña Jr is in the leadoff spot, good things happen. From a run producing perspective, Acuña didn’t make a huge difference yesterday but he had 5 PAs with a single, 2 walks, 1 run, and 1 stolen base. He saw 17 pitches in his first 4 PAs, an average or 4.25 per AB. On his 5th PA, he was intentionally walked. The psychological impact he places on other teams with his entire game is unparalleled in the sport.

However, Acuña was not the MVP of the game as that belongs to Kyle Wright and William Contreras. Wright didn’t have his command working, but his stuff was effective as he put up 0s for 5 innings, allowing 2 hits, 3 walks, while bagging 8 Ks. I’d wager good money that we see Wright struggle with command a good bit this year, but tighten up in the last 1/3 of the season. With reps come maturity.

William Contreras is an absolute monster at the plate right now. The kid has only collected 38 PAs yet 6 0f his 8 hits have been dingers.

He’s also walked 6 times, which has pushed his numbers into legend’s territory at 1.180 OPS. These numbers beg the question for increased playing time for “Willy”, but Snit shot that idea down…for now.

We all know that Snitker takes a while to come around to things, but I have to say that I agree with him. Grabbing Contreras regular ABs might have a reverse effect on him and exposure isn’t always friendly.

Last year, Tyler Matzek was our folk hero, but now that Tyler is on the shelf for awhile, might I suggest bearded fella from Oxford, Alabama? Jackson Stephens is his name and putting baseballs through the Matrix is his game (yes, I’ll be referring to him as “The Matrix” from now on). This pitch is absurd.

The Braves play in a few hours with a chance to get to 1 game below .500. They will continue a 20+ game stretch of playing teams with a below .500 record and we should know a lot about this team when those 20 games are in the rearview.

What to do with Michael Harris?

Michael Harris is doing things again, and he also might be doing things that make me alter my very amateur scouting report on him. When I wrote about him, my long-term plan had him as a corner OFer as I just didn’t think he’d have the range to carry CF. This felt true at the time, but we never know what kind of work these young guys put in during the offseason. There’s no doubt that Harris has made it a priority to strengthen his lower half and some of his offseason work that he put on Twitter were geared toward increasing speed. His focus on stealing bags and this clip tells me he was successful.

Last night, Harris hit another HR and his OPS is at .890…. in Pearl, MS, which is other-worldly for that park. The announcer for the M-Braves, Chris Harris, seems to think that Harris isn’t long for AA and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him at AAA within a couple of weeks with eyes on the prize by the last 1/3 of the season.

The May 29th Deadline

MLB teams decreased their rosters to 26 a few weeks back, but was allowed to carry up to 14 pitchers until May 29th, when that number will have to decrease to 13. That leaves the Braves in a bit of a conundrum. As the roster currently sits, there are not a lot of guys with options to move from AAA to the MLB, then there’s Tyler Matzek, who, when healthy, will grab one of the spots. Then there’s Kirby Yates who is very likely to start his rehab assignment with a month with plans to build up strength to pitch in MLB games by August. This leaves guys like Darren O’Day, Tyler Thornburg, and Jesse Chavez in roster limbo. All 3 can be valuable contributors, but have 0 roster flexibility, and the Braves have no choice but to remove a pitcher and add a position player.

For now, my guess of an addition to the roster goes to catcher Chadwick Tromp, who would essentially become the emergency catcher to free up William Contreras to play the outfield sometime and pinch hit when the need fits. The other option could be one of Pat Valaika or Phil Gosselin, who could provide infield depth. Next Sunday will definitely be interesting.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

29 thoughts on “Braves 4, Fish 3”

  1. Chip just now: “As Doc Brown said in ‘Major League,’ ‘It’s all starting to come together, boys.'”

    I have no further comment right now because I don’t even know where to begin.

  2. @1 I wasn’t watching yet, and I also hate Chip, but that reads like a joke to me.

  3. Ian looked killer in the second. Glad to see him commanding the fastball up; I feel like his trouble mostly comes from not placing his relatively straight fastball – like a lot of pitchers, I guess.

  4. I can stand a cold stretch from Demeritte, but Olson is being a huge disappointment. His swing and miss was supposed to be resolved and he can’t seem to hit the ball out of the infield. His K rate has to be huge and if not, his swing and miss is high even if he does hit a weak grounder.

    Edit: Ozuna should not be stealing bases.

  5. Might be time to give Arcia a start at third. Riley might need a day off to get it back together

  6. Terrible job by Anderson by nibbling after having Cooper down 0-2 and it cost him. Too many non-competitive pitches

  7. Honestly, the entire lineup except for Acuña, TDA, and Dansby (and bench players Contreras and Arcia) is playing well below expectations.

  8. Yes, great start by Anderson. This rotation has really rounded into shape. Obviously too many in the lineup continue to struggle. To be fair, though, Alcantara is one of the toughest in the league.

  9. Anderson should not have been out for the 7th. That being said, being down 1 or down 5 won’t matter when we probably won’t score again anyway

  10. The announcers, especially Byrd, loved that Snit sent Anderson out for the 7th. It was a very bad idea. I said so before he gave up two hits and a run to the first two batters—you can ask my wife. She wasn’t sure why I was arguing with the TV but she can confirm I did so.

  11. I guess it turns out that the analytics don’t lie. The fact that this discussion comes on the tail of a discussion about complete games in which only Frenchy had a useful point to make is even better.

  12. Chavez might be pitching to stay in the roster when we have to drop a pitcher next week

  13. Still waiting for Chip to mention Coopers success against the Braves…for the 300th time

  14. Well, this game’s over.

    If the Braves had scored any of the runs from 3rd with less than 2 outs, neither Anderson nor Chavez would have pitched the 7th.

  15. @12 With all of the things that Frenchy and Jordan mention about our hitters and the issues they seem to have, it makes me wonder what Seitzer is doing? We don’t seem to make many adjustments approach wise or mechanically. I get that we need to let some of these guys figure it out but damn, this is pathetic. I know water always finds it level, but the contracts of Ozzie and Olson don’t look so great at the moment

  16. Olson I have said my piece on particularly in the area of weak contact. Above and beyond the pragmatic I am coming to believe – 40 games in – he is not happy, even more so unhappy, a darker place. Oakland was just too easy for him, he moved into a position in a weak team where he was the best, so leave him be. Not here, and with that tab.

  17. As I said, I enjoy the personalities of Frenchy and BJ. They seem likeable and they can be funny. But as for them giving advice about hitting “approach,” you need to look at their career stats. Franchise is famous for being a notorious free swinger who rarely walked. Jordan wasn’t quite as extreme but his walk rates weren’t much better than Frenchy’s. They have a point that it is good to be aggressive in the zone. Both of them, however, were too often aggressive out of the zone.

  18. @23–I’m pretty sure you’re asserting things about Olson’s psyche that you cannot know. I do agree that he doesn’t look especially happy right now. I am pretty sure, though, that if he goes about 8 for 14 with a couple of bombs in the upcoming Phils series, we will see a big smile on his face.

  19. Sucks about Demeritte. His bat has gone cold, and that mental error in the field is not going to be popular with the coaching staff. He’s probably played his way out of Atlanta. I hate that for him.

  20. @25: +1

    @26: Demeritte’s big advantage at the moment is that we really don’t have anyone to replace him with if we’re not going to play RAJ every day in the field. He’s not going to hit any worse than Heredia, although Heredia is supposed to give you better defense. But yeah… the long-run chances aren’t good without some major turnaround. I, like you, had high hopes.

    Oh… and the quest for the longest streakless stretch in MLB history is still active!

  21. @2

    You said it, we kind of know, never an absolute, but it’s still important when we care. Or believe you do. He’s likely sad a lot of the time. No Freddie he,feeling he’s letting us all down.

    We’re 40 games in out of 160. Add 80 more and it may all look very different then. We can afford that.

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