The Braves and the Yankees spent most of the second game of their Wednesday doubleheader locked in a fierce pitcher’s duel. Fortunately for Atlanta, Freddie Freeman’s two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth was the only major offense that the Braves needed as they picked up a 2-1 victory — their second win of the day.
In a way, Masahiro Tanaka delivered on what we expected to see from Gerrit Cole earlier today. Tanaka was in complete control of the game from the very moment that he took the mound. In a sharp contrast to the way that the Braves teed off on Cole in the first game, they were unable to really get anything significant going against Tanaka. They were unable to get a runner past second base while Tanaka was out there for five innings, as New York’s veteran hurler put on a performance that was similar to what you’d expect to see from him on his best day.
Max Fried was also on his game as well. Fried continued what’s been an extremely strong season on the mound so far, and he appeared once again to be up to the task of keeping the Braves in the game with his pitching. Fried ended the night with six innings on the mound, four hits allowed, only one walk conceded, five strikeouts, and most importantly: Just one run allowed. That’s now six straight starts for Fried without giving up more than one run. It’s safe to say that he’s gone past just being on a good run and this is just Max Fried showing us exactly what he can do as a big league starter.
Max Fried, 93mph Fastball (called strike) and 76mph Curveball (Swinging K), Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 27, 2020
Good luck pic.twitter.com/AvgY3cHSw1
The lone run that Fried gave up in this one could be seen as the BABIP gods looking down on him with a scowl. In the fifth inning with Miguel Andujar already on base with a leadoff single, Erik Kratz picked up a double that, according to statcast, had an xBA of .130. The double got Andujar to third base and then Tyler Wade drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Fried did great to limit the Yankees to just one run and as it turned out, it was crucial that he stopped them there.
That’s because the Braves pulled another rabbit out of the hat when it comes to late-inning heroics. Atlanta has made a bit of a habit out of coming to life with their backs against the wall. The team rarely ever gives up and tonight was no exception, as they took advantage of the one reliever that they saw in Game 2. With that being said, Chad Green has been excellent for the Yankees all season and the task of getting one over on him was a tall one for Atlanta.
It didn’t matter. Down to their final out in the sixth inning, Dansby Swanson got on with a single and then Freddie Freeman delivered in the clutch by smashing a fly ball high into the night sky. Brett Gardner made a valiant effort at stealing it, but Freddie put just enough power behind it for the ball to elude Gardner’s grasp and bounce into the seats for a go-ahead homer. After getting completely shut out for the vast majority of the game, the Braves once again pulled themselves off of the mat and took the lead in dramatic fashion.
After the comeback in the sixth, it was all on Mark Melancon to finish off the Yankees. Gary Sanchez continued on his quest to pick up base hits against the Atlanta Braves and nobody else, but he was the only one who got on base in the seventh. Melancon locked down the save and Atlanta picked up the doubleheader sweep of the Yankees.
The first win earlier today was greatly satisfying to watch and even though the second game ended up being a tense pitching duel, it’s still great to see the team pick up a win. Even if the Yankees aren’t at full strength right now, it’s still a big deal to beat a team that figures to be a prominent player in the playoffs on the other side of the bracket. Picking up both wins of a doubleheader is especially nice, and you really can’t say enough nice things about the on-field performance from the Braves today.