Even though William Contreras made a solid first impression with his first RBI of the season, the Braves were unable to keep up with the Blue Jays and ended up getting swept out of Dunedin by Toronto.
For the second day in a row, the Braves were the first team to get on the board. Instead of a grand slam, the Braves scored their one run in a much quieter manner. It was also encouraging that the man who drove in the run was none other than William Contreras, himself. Contreras was able to pull a slider from Ross Stripling into left field to bring home Ozzie Albies (after he lead off the second inning with a double) to make it 1-0 Atlanta at the time.
That was as good as it got for the Braves in this one. The Blue Jays immediately struck back in the second inning, as they were able to turn a leadoff single and a two-out walk into a game-tying RBI from the light-hitting Danny Jansen. It was especially frustrating for Ian Anderson and the Braves since Jansen’s hit broke what was an 0-for-35 streak for him at the plate. Jansen went on to add another hit off of Anderson in the fourth inning, so that just tells you the type of day (and weekend) that the Braves were having out there.
Things only got worse in the third inning, as the Blue Jays worked to extend their lead. Once again, the Braves got into a situation where all they needed was one more out to get out of a jam and they couldn’t get the out. Anderson had two men on with two out when Marcus Semien came up to the plate at that point. Ian fell behind in the count and then left a curveball hanging high in the zone for Semien to send looping into the left field corner to plate two more runs for Toronto.
Things you love 2 see:— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 2, 2021
Our 2B hitting a 2-out, 2-run 2B ✌️ pic.twitter.com/LP0jkspRvu
The fourth inning brought more of the same two-out woes for the Braves. This time, Ian Anderson had picked up two strikeouts in that frame but he also surrendered another hit to Danny Jansen in between those strikeouts. A wild pitch during the second strikeout didn’t help matters, but it seemed like Anderson was on track to escape the inning after running up the count to 1-2 on Bo Bichette. Instead of getting Bichette out to end the inning and keep the deficit at just two runs, Bichette hit a gapper to right-center field and the Blue Jays extended their lead to 4-1.
The Braves did have a golden chance to do some major damage of their own in the very next inning. Austin Riley, William Contreras, and Cristian Pache all reached base to lead off the third inning, and this was seemingly a prime opportunity for the Braves to really make their presence felt in this game. Ronald Acuña Jr. came especially close at giving the Braves the lead with just one swing of the bat. He hit a slider from Ross Stripling that was right in the middle of the strike zone and put a charge into it. If the 109.8 rocket ball from Acuña’s bat had flown just a few more feet, it would’ve been Atlanta’s second grand slam in as many days. Instead, it was a loud out with an xBA of .990 and just one run via sacrifice fly.
That was when the Blue Jays brought in Ryan Borucki to take on Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna. Freddie Freeman’s slump continued into its fourth day — he’s now 1-for-19 over the past four days and his at-bat against Borucki was probably the worst of the bunch as Toronto’s reliever dominated him on three pitches. Ozuna’s at-bat wasn’t much better, as Borucki bombarded him with a sinker and two sliders that were apparently impossible toresist. Just like that, a golden opportunity at possibly taking control of this game evaporated into thin air and the Braves were on the back foot once again.
From then on, things continued to be frustrating. There was a moment with Ozzie Albies in the sixth inning where there was a tiny bit of hope that the Braves could get another rally going. Ozzie hit what looked like a harmless ground ball until Bo Bichette made a bad throw that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. couldn’t bring in. Having safely reached first base, Ozzie for some reason or another floated back into the basepaths instead of going the opposite way. The Blue Jays capitalized and Bichette’s error was immediately atoned for once Ozzie went back to the dugout following the pickle.
Interesting play by Ozzie Albies. pic.twitter.com/AntAZyv51s— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) May 2, 2021
Then the bottom of the eighth inning rolled around, which is when the Blue Jays put their foot down and finished off the game. Randal Grichuk welcomed Sean Newcomb back to action with a long at-bat that turned into a single and then Marcus Semien delivered the dagger by hitting a big fly to left center to make it 6-2 in favor of the Blue Jays. After Newcomb gave up a double, he picked up a strikeout before giving way to Jacob Webb. Similarly to how Ian Anderson just couldn’t get the job done with two outs or two strikes, all of the hits that Sean Newcomb gave up came with two strikes on the board. As far as Webb goes, he gave up a double to give Toronto their seventh run of the afternoon but he did pick up a strikeout, so there’s that.
Other than William Contreras coming up with a go-ahead single early on, Ronald Acuña coming up just short of a grand slam and Austin Riley having a four-hit afternoon, this was a tough day at the plate and on the basepaths for the Braves. It was also yet another rough afternoon for the pitching staff, who just couldn’t find a way to keep the Blue Jays off of the scoreboard. That’s an easy recipe for getting swept and losing four games in a row for the third time so far this season.
It’s a good thing that the Braves are going to have a day off as they travel to the capital to take on the Nationals. It’s safe to say that this team needs a break, even if it’s just a day. Either way, they’ve got to figure out a way to get out of first gear this season and the best way to start is to at least make sure that they don’t lose their fifth straight game this Tuesday.