The Atlanta Braves gave a bit of a glimpse as to what their regular season lineup could look like in today’s game against the Boston Red Sox. Atlanta also planned to get an extended look at new rotation piece Charlie Morton and young right hander Huascar Ynoa. Atlanta did not have to wait long to see the skills of their stars and starters in action.
The Red Sox challenged Morton early, with a leadoff double and walk to Enrique Hernandez and Alex Verdugo. However, Morton was able to get three straight outs to end the inning, including striking out Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez. In the bottom of the first inning, the Braves decided to create some action of their own. With one out, Ozzie Albies walked, Freddie Freeman reached on an infield single, then both advanced to second and third on a wild pitch.
After Marcell Ozuna walked and Travis d’Arnaud struck out, Dansby Swanson connected for a three run double to left center to put the Braves up 3-0. Another clutch moment, another needed delivery from Dansby as we have all become accustomed to. Morton worked around another double in the top of the second, and the Braves went right back to work in the bottom of the inning.
After a walk to Jake Lamb, Cristian Pache delivered a RBI triple to right field to give the Braves a 4-0 lead. Pache has flashed his power early this spring, and a few of those times have been to the opposite field. He has shown he can drive pitches to all fields based off where they are located, which is really encouraging to see this early. Both the Braves and Red Sox went scoreless in the third inning. For the day, Morton allowed two hits and one walk over three innings with three strikeouts. A solid effort with more than enough support coming from the Braves’ offense.
Both Boston and Atlanta were sat down quietly in the fourth and fifth innings, as Ynoa looked quite effective over two quick innings. However, he ran into some trouble in the top of the sixth. The Red sox scored four runs in the inning, as a wild pitch and RBI hits from Christian Arroyo and Yairo Munoz tied the score. After two good innings, Ynoa struggled in his third frame, as he yielded three earned runs. However, he did strikeout out four batters without any walks over 2 1⁄3 innings, which is certainly a positive development for his control.
The Braves and Red Sox were held scoreless in their next half innings, but Atlanta had an answer for the Red Sox in the bottom of the seventh. Ehire Adrianza singled to center and then scored on Pablo Sandoval’s double to regain the lead for the Braves. It was a big hit for Sandoval as he tries to make a case for a role on the Braves’ bench. The Red Sox attempted to tie the score in the top of the eighth inning, but Carl Edwards Jr. worked around a walk and a hit by notching two strikeouts to keep Boston off the scoreboard. Victor Arano then closed out the game in the top of the ninth for a 5-4 Braves victory.
The highlights of the game were the bottom of the Braves’ order delivering key hits early while the Braves bullpen supported Charlie Morton’s solid start. Despite Ynoa’s Struggles, Morton, Tyler Matzek, and Edwards Jr. all kept zeros on the scoreboard despite being tested, while Arano looked quite sharp in the ninth. An encouraging game for the Braves’ depth across the board, and a good debut from the Braves’ likely everyday lineup once the regular season begins.