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Freeman homers, Braves cruise to series split

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves found themselves down early as Matt Wisler struggled with his control in the first. The righty allowed the first 3 players to reach base but managed to work out of it and surrendered just a single run. As was stated in the preview it was imperative for Wisler to get ahead and get his secondary pitches work. Coming into the start he failed to get a single swing and a miss on his curve or change-up and while they weren’t pristine today they got the job done.

The Braves went down 2 after Adam Duvall hit an absolute moonshot with 2 outs, but that’s when Wisler found his groove. Wisler went on to retire 11 of his last 15 batters (4 singles) tying a season high 116 pitches (5/15 vs KCR).

Just like the rest of his starts Wisler showcased a brilliant slider that bit hard and away from right handed batters, but it was his change-up that was a bit more sharper and allowed him to mix up his pitches some more. I didn’t see him throw a curve, but if he did would love to hear your comments on it. The fastball appeared flat at time but he located it well for the most part by elevating it high and away from hitters when he wanted to coax a swing out of them. Overall, it was a nice bounce back start for Wisler who needed one in the worst way.

He was followed by Ian Krol who pitched very effectively out of the pen until the questionable decision to have him bat and pitch an additional inning. The lefty hasn’t given up more than a single run in any game, and has only given up 1 run through 7 outings in June. He hit for himself in the bottom of the 8th and subsequently seemed to run out of gas in the 9th as he walked to batters (while also striking out two) and was relieved by Arodys Vizcaino who threw one pitch to end the game. Of note, Krol threw 39 pitches today so there is a good chance he is not available for tomorrow’s game against the Mets.

Offensively, it looked like the Braves were destined for a rough day. Straily pounded the zone early with breaking stuff that kept every player not named Freeman off-balanced. As spoken about in the preview Straily has been a quite lucky, indicative of his .226 BABIP and that came crashing to an end in the third inning. Greatest player of all time Chase d’Arnaud start the inning with a laser double down the left-field line. Matt Wisler then let down a bad but effective bunt that moved Chase over to third before Mallex Smith brought him in with an infield single. Smith then stole second base before coming home on Freddie Freeman’s 12 homer of the year.

The Braves were relatively held in check until the 5th when Mallex Smith and Ender Inciarte started off the inning with a pair of walks. After Freeman flied out to left, the two executed a perfect double steal and were brought in by a Nick Markakis double to right for a 5-2 lead. Adonis Garcia followed that up with a single that put runners on first and third with one out in the inning and Jace Peterson extended the lead with a sacrifice fly to left to extend the lead to 6-2.

The Braves scored their final run of the game in the seventh inning when Freeman singled, went to third on what I can only describe as wacky throw by Cozart after Adonis Garcia hit a fielders choice right at him. Jace Peterson followed up Adonis Garcia and singled in Freeman extending the lead to 7-2. On that play specifically Adonis Garcia suffered an injury and was replaced by Erick Aybar on the basepads.

All in all we witnessed a series in which the Braves scored 25 runs in 4 games. Granted it was against the Reds but it was nice to see the bats get going.