The past 24+ hours has been a pretty crazy and historic turn of events for all major sports leagues in the United States and abroad. With an ever changing and potentially dangerous situation touching all parts of the world that will likely be around for the foreseeable future, everyone is putting public health first to make the impact as minimal as possible. Unfortunately, as a result, it seems that we will be without baseball for an extended period of time.
Thankfully, while the news of the day was less than ideal, the Braves at least had one more game before commencing their hiatus. On the road against the Tigers, Kyle Wright took the mound for yet another audition to make the Atlanta rotation out of Spring Training. While the lineup featured few regulars, third base candidates Johan Camargo and Austin Riley both got the start. Drew Waters and Spring Training Star Peter O’Brien were also in the lineup for the game.
The Braves started off with a early threat to score first in the top of the first, as they loaded the bases with two outs against Spencer Turnbull. Unfortunately, O’brien, in rare fashion, could not cash in on the opportunity, striking out to end the inning. Wright kept the Tigers quiet in the bottom of the first while Turnbull did the same in the top of the second. However, in the bottom of the second, Jonathan Schoop decided it was time to make some noise, as he delivered his first home run of the Spring off of Wright to make the score 1-0 Detroit.
Travis d’Arnaud and Riley enjoyed two out success with a single and walk, respectively, to begin the third. However, the Braves again missed a good scoring chance when Rafael Ortega popped up to end the inning. Though Wright yielded a walk to begin the bottom of the third, he generated a double play off the bat of Niko Goodrum to end the third inning. Shane Robinson singled in the top of the fourth inning and then reached second base on a wild pitch, but for the third time in four innings, the Braves could not capitalize as Waters grounded out.
The Tigers and Braves went down in order in the bottom of the fourth, top of the fifth, and bottom of the fifth innings. Wright’s day was done after five innings, as he again validated his candidacy to be a member of the Braves rotation at the start of the season (whenever that may be.) Over five innings, Wright allowed two hits, one walk, one run via the home run, and three strikeouts to bring his Spring ERA to 2.03. After another good performance, whenever the season gets started, Wright looks ready to make a significant contribution to the Braves 2020 season.
The Braves finally were able to find some success in the top of the sixth inning. Both Riley and O’Brien earned free passes and were on first and second when Robinson came to the plate with two outs. Robinson singled to center to score Riley to tie the score at one. Waters ended the inning with a ground out. Shane Greene entered the game, and yielded a leadoff double. However, after a sacrifice fly, Greene earned two strikeouts despite a runner on third with one out to keep the score tied.
Riley Unroe kept the Braves rolling with a one out solo home run in the top of the seventh, while Luke Jackson worked around a two out walk to keep Detroit quiet to end the inning. After the Braves went down in order in the top of the eighth, Tyler Matzek again impressed with another strong outing, as he struck out the side after giving up a leadoff walk. The Braves finally opened the floodgates a bit with three runs on a Jonathan Morales sacrifice fly and Sean Kazmar two-run double to make the score 5-1. Though Thomas Burrows allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth, the Braves would get the 5-3 win over Detroit.
Overall, it was an encouraging pitching performance from a few of the more interesting arms still in camp with Atlanta. Wright and Matzek continued to make strong cases to be considered for Major League action at some point, while Greene and Jackson did well to have quality innings. Austin Riley also continued his torrid spring, hopefully turning a corner to run away with the third base job at some point.
Unfortunately, every indication seems to show that it will be a while before any of the players get their chance. While these turn of events may be logical and for the better, it is going to a surreal and odd time over the next few weeks and months. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, all will be back to normal with as little issues as possible in the meantime.