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The Daily Chop: Another frustrating loss, Ender Inciarte rejoins roster and more

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The first 44 games of the 2021 season has not been kind to the Atlanta Braves. Thursday’s 6-4 loss in extra innings to the Pirates was a microcosm of the many problems Atlanta has faced this season. The Braves got homers from William Contreras and Dansby Swanson, a good performance on the mound by Drew Smyly, but once again were unable to nail down a victory. Atlanta had a chance to blow the game open in the fourth but Freddie Freeman struck out with the bases loaded. They handed a one run lead to Sean Newcomb in the seventh but he was unable to hold it. Jacob Webb allowed three straight hits and retired just one batter in the 10th.

We are just past a quarter of the way into the season, but things don’t appear to be improving for the Braves. A lot of their struggles are due to rotten luck, but an equal portion is due to poor execution whether that is at the plate or on the mound. There is still plenty of time, but there is no doubt that it has been frustrating to watch.

More Braves News runs down the biggest issue that each NL East team is currently facing. For the Braves, the focus is on an inconsistent bullpen that needs to find its footing sooner rather than later.

Prior to Thursday’s game, the Braves reinstated Ender Inciarte from the paternity list and optioned Johan Camargo back to Gwinnett. The team also announced that catcher Jeff Mathis cleared waivers and was outrighted back to Gwinnett as well.

MLB News

Major League Baseball handed down a three-game suspension to Twins reliever Tyler Duffy for intentionally throwing a pitch behind Chicago’s Yermin Mercedes. The league also issued a one-game suspension to Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso did not play in Wednesday’s series finale in Atlanta due to some lingering wrist soreness. Mets manager Luis Rojas further indicated that Alonso is expected to undergo an MRI later this week.

Stephen Strasburg is set to return to the mound for the Nationals in Friday’s matchup against the Baltimore Orioles. Strasburg has missed more than a month due to shoulder inflammation.

The Cincinnati Reds placed infielder Mike Moustakas on the 10-day injured list due to a bruised right heel. Moustakas has missed about a week with the injury although he did make a couple of pinch hitting appearances.

The Kansas City Royals signed reliever Anthony Swarzak to a minor league contract. Swarzak was released by the Diamondbacks earlier this season.

The Red Sox are planning to add veteran utility man Danny Santana to the roster for this weekend’s series against Philadelphia. Santana agreed to a minor league deal with Boston during Spring Training but was slowed due to a foot infection that eventually required surgery.