Life is funny at times.
Many times, the good simply comes with the bad.
Unfortunately for the Atlanta Braves, it seems nothing good can ever really occur this season without something else less than ideal or flat out bad happening as well. Yesterday is a perfect example. The Braves beat the Mets to now be within four games of the NL East division lead, and have produced two straight shut outs against New York. The scenario worked out perfectly with Max Fried scheduled to take the mound this evening.
However, Fried was placed on the 10-day IL with a blister injury yesterday. While its likely to only be a short trip to the injured list, blisters have been a recurring issue for Fried. Furthermore, the Braves now must piece together their pitching plans for two straight games without a reliable starter. The hope is that the momentum the Braves have created over the past 36 hours will not be minimized once again due to injuries.
Though the next few days will certainly be an adventure, one good development is that the rest of the Braves pitching staff has put together a string of good starts. Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson, and even Drew Smyly have produced either one of their best starts or their best start of the season over the past few games. If they all can get some consistency going in their approaches, the timing could not be better.
- Though overall there is a bit of reason to hope for Braves fans, the Fried injury is frustrating. The Braves simply cannot get on the good side of Lady Luck. One silver lining (for some) is another opportunity awaits Kyle Wright. Hopefully, he can show the form he did last September and make the most of it.
- Charlie Morton’s performance last night was not only dominant, it was extremely rare in the history of the Braves organization. Morton’s outing was only the seventh time since 1901 that a Braves pitcher went seven or more innings without allowing a run (earned or unearned) to score while allowing one or less hits and producing 10 or more strikeouts in a single game. Julio Teheran is the only other pitcher who has accomplished that feat since 1998. Furthermore, it was the 100th win of Morton’s career.
- It seems the two brightest stars on the Atlanta sports scene have shared some common ground over the past few weeks. After Trae Young silenced the Madison Square Garden crowd by leading the Hawks to a first round victory over the Knicks in the NBA Playoffs, Ronald Acuna Jr. silenced Citi Field with the deciding run in the Braves 1-0 victory on Monday Night. It certainly seems both Young and now Acuna Jr. relished the opportunity to shine in the Big Apple.
- On the farm, Spencer Strider has certainly been the prospect stealing the headlines this week with his promotion. Furthermore, with the MLB Draft coming into clear focus, there are a few first basemen the Braves could look to add to the farm in July.
- The wait for many is finally over. Not only did Wander Franco make his much anticipated debut for the Rays Tuesday night, he wasted no time in showing his immense talent and potential. Franco went 2-4 with a double and jacked a three-run home run as his first major league hit. The future is certainly bright for both Franco and the Rays.
- A major development this week across the MLB is pitcher inspections as the league is attempting to crack down on the use of foreign substances on balls. Yankees’ pitcher Gerrit Cole was one of the pitchers inspected on Tuesday. Cole was found to be clean, and he went on to provide New York with a very good performance. As can be seen, umpires will be looking at anyone and everyone with their inspections.
- While inspections were certainly civil in New York, circumstances became a little testy in Philadelphia. After Nationals ace Max Scherzer had been checked twice with no issues earlier in the game, Phillies manager Joe Girardi requested Scherzer be checked again. Scherzer, clearly frustrated, once again checked out fine and Girardi was ejected after his reaction. While some inspection occurrences may be peaceful, it seems they could become contentious in certain situations.
- While it has been fun to see the Braves make up significant ground in the standings over the past few days, the Houston Astros are right now baseball’s hottest team. The Astros have won nine straight and are now in sole possession of first place in the AL West. It seems they will be having a close divisional race with Oakland for the rest of the season.