Thanks to a marvelous pitching performance from a kid who cannot legally buy a drink, the Braves beat the Pirates 1-0 on Monday night. With the Phillies being idle, the Braves’ lead in the National League East is now at one full game. Their record sits at 69-55.
Bryse Wilson became the third 20-year old pitcher to make his Major League debut for the Braves in 2018 (joining Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard) - not only did he rise to the occasion, he outdueled and outlasted Chris Archer, which will be a fun story to tell his grandkids one day. Wilson went five strong innings, allowing only three hits and three walks, while striking out five. He threw 87 pitches, and seemed unflappable when forced to work around baserunners. Whether he gets a subsequent start in 2018 will be determined later, but he certainly looked like he earned himself another look.
Johan Camargo had another multi-hit night in support of Wilson, as he went 3 for 3. He has adjusted well to the fifth spot in the order, slashing .395/.434/.510 in the 11 games since moving there on August 10. He has 2 or more hits in 6 of those games.
The Braves staked Wilson to a 1-0 lead before he ever threw his first pitch, after Freddie Freeman doubled to right and Nick Markakis sent him home with an RBI single. As it turns out, this would be all the offense the Braves would need.
When it was his turn to take the mound, Wilson got off to as good of a start as possible, striking out Corey Dickerson and Adam Frazier to lead off the game. He touched 97 mph on several occasions during the opening frame.
It looked like he was going to log his first career hit in the top of the 4th inning, as he rifled a line drive into right field. Gregory Polanco was having none of it, however, as he unleashed a rocket to first to nab Wilson before he could safely reach.
Wilson’s control began to waver in the bottom of the 4th, as he issued his first career walks to consecutive hitters. He showed his ability to deftly work around trouble, as he induced a strikeout to Francisco Cervelli and comebacker from Colin Moran.
Due to what was later classified as “left leg discomfort,” Archer was lifted as a precautionary measure going into the 5th. Steven Brault, who relieved him, was rudely greeted by Ronald Acuña, who doubled down the left field line for his 21st extra base hit since the All-Star Break. After Freddie Freeman drew a HBP, it looked like the Braves would be able to pad their lead, but Acuña was caught attempting to steal third base and the rally thus ended.
In first appearance since being activated off the DL, Sam Freeman came on to relieve Wilson in the 6th. He allowed multiple baserunners (which may not surprise you), but none of them came around to score (which might).
The Pirates were primed to tie the game up in the 7th, as a Corey Dickerson single looked like it would score Adeiny Hechavarria. Ender Inciarte had other ideas:
With that laser throw (and great tag by Suzuki), the Braves’ lead stayed safe.
Dan Winkler came on for the save opportunity in the ninth, and locked down the save. His outing snapped a run of shoddy appearances by the Braves bullpen. In fact, the entire bullpen pitched well tonight, as Freeman, Brad Brach, Jesse Biddle, Jonny Venters, and Winkler combined for four shutout innings. After the multiple collapses this past weekend, this was a much needed development.
The Braves will rally behind Kevin Gausman tomorrow night, as he will face Ivan Nova in the second game of this series. Join us!