There was concern as the Atlanta Braves entered this weekend’s series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that what was originally a promising season could be in danger of slipping away altogether. After all, the Braves have faced plenty of adversity through the first quarter of the season and for a myriad of reasons, had just not been able to put things together. Yet, despite not spending a day above .500, they were still hanging in the division race but their margin for error seemed to be slipping away. Those concerns were front and center Friday night when an eight-run fifth inning sent them to yet another loss. However, back-to-back wins over Clayton Kershaw Saturday and Trevor Bauer Sunday, might finally have the Braves headed in the right direction.
“I guess it remains to be seen. Hopefully it’s something you look back on in two or three weeks and maybe point to this,” Brian Snitker said when asked about the significance of a series win over a team like the Dodgers. “Other than the one inning, we played a really good series this weekend against the World Champions. We did a lot of really good things, bullpen was unbelievable, got some big hits. This was a really good series. It should show those guys that we’re as good as anybody out there when we play the way we’re capable of playing.”
The Braves hung five runs on Kershaw in the third inning Saturday. Charlie Morton got them through five with the lead but Atlanta’s much maligned bullpen limited the Dodgers to just one hit over the final four innings.
Sunday’s matchup wasn’t going to be any easier against Bauer who is the reigning NL Cy Young award winner. Yet, here was several members of the Braves’ bench grinding out at-bats and coming up with timely hits when they needed them the most.
“Obviously coming into the series, you know that that’s a really good team that’s one of the best teams in baseball, and they play a really complete game,” Max Fried said of the series win. “So we knew that we had to come out and play a complete game as well. It felt like, it was a really good series for us.”
Fried went head-to-head with Bauer and out pitched him allowing six hits and one run over six innings. He struck out four and only really faced on stressful inning before exiting in the seventh.
Abraham Almonte got the Braves started with a second inning double that gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Ender Inciarte gave Atlanta some breathing room with a run-scoring single in the sixth and added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth. It was good to see Atlanta get some production from the lower half of their order and particularly from some guys that haven’t seen a lot of opportunities.
“Hats off to both of those guys staying ready. Neither of them have played in a while and Ender gets a couple of big RBIs and Almonte got us going with that first run,” Snitker said of the contributions of Almonte and Inciarte. “It’s a credit to those guys to stay ready and the work they put in between opportunities.”
“This team is always fighting. There’s good chemistry on the team, and everybody’s pulling for the same goal, which is winning a World Series,” Inciarte said. “So whoever is in the lineup is trying to do the best they can to help this team win ballgames.”