I am not sure if there has been a more exciting regular season day of baseball for the Braves in quite a while.
After a disheartening duo of 10-8 losses against the Red Sox last week, the Braves were able to get a bit back on track by winning three out of four games over the weekend against the Cardinals. Now, the opportunity is at hand for the Braves to really use that success to get the weekend back on track.
At 33-36, the Braves are currently 5 games back of the division-leading New York Mets in the NL East. More importantly, seven of Atlanta’s next ten games are against the Mets, beginning with a double-header today at Citi Field. It is in no way a stretch to suggest the outlook for the Braves 2021 season will significantly change by July 1st.
While the near future is one reason to be excited about today’s game, the impact of today itself cannot be understated. For one, two of the Braves most promising young arms will be in the mound through the arms of Ian Anderson and Kyle Muller. Anderson will look to get his groove back in lieu of some recent struggles, while Muller will be making the first start of his career. The implications could not be much bigger for the young hurlers:
If the Braves go 2-0 today, they are three games back.
If they go 1-1, they remain 5 games back.
If they go 0-2, they fall to seven games back.
With how important today’s games are. the Braves offense must show up. While the Braves scored 8 or more runs in three of their four games last week, they only scored two in 14 innings yesterday. The bats must support their young starters to give the Braves a good chance to make the most of today.
While there is obviously plenty to pay attention too in New York, there is also much more content to catch up on when it comes to the Braves and MLB in general from a wonderful weekend...
The Braves 1-0 victory over the Cardinals was not just needed, it was also historic for one Ronald Acuna Jr. as he hit his 100th career home run for Atlanta. It also made the difference in the game as only run that was produced. Acuna Jr. also joined some pretty elite company with how quickly he reached the milestone.
It is no secret Drew Smyly has consistently struggled since coming to Atlanta. However, when the Braves badly needed a strong performance to close out their series against the Cardinals, Smyly delivered 5 2⁄3 innings of no-hit ball in his best start for the Braves. Hopefully, this will be the start of a successful stretch of pitching for the veteran Southpaw.
With the need for yesterday’s double-header not forming until Saturday afternoon, the Braves made a few roster moves on Sunday to adjust the roster accordingly. One move that was made to add depth to the bullpen was the arrival of Ty Tice to Atlanta. Tice was acquired by the Braves from Toronto earlier this month.
Over at ESPN, Bradford Doolittle and David Schoenfield discuss the Braves season so far and give their thoughts on how it could go from here. Both analysts give their thoughts on where the Braves need to improve, and some ideas on what the Braves could do at the trade deadline (ESPN INSIDER required).
NEWS AROUND THE MLB
One of the more anticipated debuts in baseball over the past few seasons has finally arrived.
Wander Franco, MLB.com’s top over all prospect for over a year now, will make his MLB debut on Tuesday for the Rays against the Red Sox. For fans who have been waiting for the next talent to emerge that is of the same prospect pedigree as Ronald Acuna Jr. or Fernando Tatis Jr., Franco fits the profile. It will be an exciting night for the both the Rays and all of baseball for Franco to finally be in the big leagues.
While the Yankees have set numerous records throughout the history of baseball, they continue to find ways to make history. On Sunday, the Yankees literally won their game due to a triple play. It was third triple play of 2021, tying the MLB for the most triple plays in a single season. With more than half the season left, perhaps the Yankees can set more history in the Bronx.
Over his past 11 games, Kyle Schwarber has hit nine home runs. That includes tying an MLB-record with five home runs over his past two games. This helped the Nationals win three out of four games against the Mets over the weekend. Schwarber seems to have found a home in the lead off spot for Washington, and the results are obviously encouraging so far.
While there was plenty of action on the diamond over the holiday weekend, the best story occurred between Joey Votto and a life long fan in San Diego.
Joey got to meet his biggest fan, Abigail. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/S6GySOo6BK— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 20, 2021
After Votto was ejected earlier this weekend in a young lady’s first chance to see him play, the Reds and Votto made sure to make her experience better than anyone could have imagined on Sunday. It is moment’s like this that remind us all how truly special the sport of baseball and its players can be.