A dominant win is one thing.
When that win happens due to some rare events, it certainly makes it even better.
Joc Pederson's homer off Josh Fleming was his first off a lefty since 2018. He had 36 HR in 2019, 7 in 2020, 11 this season before tonight, and all 54 of those were against RHPs. Of his 25 in 2018, 1 was against a lefty.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 18, 2021
So, 2 of 80 homers in four seasons have been off lefties.
Fried is the first Braves pitcher to have a three-hit game since Alex Wood went 3-for-3 against the Nationals on May 10, 2015. Before Wood, the most recent Atlanta pitcher w/ a three-hit game was Kyle Davies on June 1, 2007— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 18, 2021
I am not sure if it could have worked out any better for Atlanta in Joc Pederson’s first start for the Braves. Pederson hit his first home run as a Brave, Max Fried dominated on the mound and at the plate, and Freddie Freeman continued his dominant stretch of play with yet another home run. The end result was one of the best Braves victories of the year.
A night after blowing yet another lead, the Braves being able to bounce back in dominant form was a reminder of what made this team so good in 2019 and 2020. Though things have certainly not been easy for Atlanta this year, and one dominant win does not erase those struggles, it certainly can be the start of a stretch of success. Along with Freeman and Ozzie Albies being All-Stars, Dansby Swanson has certainly stepped up his production as of late. Though this Braves offense is far from what it was last year, it still has the ability to be a strength even without Ronald Acuna Jr.
The addition of Pederson certainly can help. Credit should go to the Braves not only for acquiring Pederson, but immediately putting him in a familiar position where has shown he can produce. Not only has Pederson been at his best from the top spot in the order this year, he has produced a .821 OPS in 1,268 plate appearances from the leadoff spot in his career. As Pederson himself said, the best way for him to replace Ronald Acuna Jr. is by simply being Joc Pederson. He certainly got off to a great start last night.
- Before his first start in a Braves uniform, Pederson took time to discuss the past few days and his arrival in Atlanta:
"The Braves have won, what, three divisions in a row? Looking to make it four."@yungjoc650 reflects on the trade process and joining a @Braves team looking to make another postseason push. pic.twitter.com/liByLjQ45Q— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) July 17, 2021
He also discussed Atlanta’s interest this past offseason and the significance of wearing number 22. If his performance on the field last night was not enough, Pederson certainly seems to have a likeable personality that will fit perfectly in the Braves clubhouse.
- Pederson could be the first of a flurry of moves for Atlanta, as he actually is not the newest Brave. That would be Stephen Vogt, who was officially made active before last night’s game. Jonathan Lucroy was designated for assignment to make room for Vogt.
- Both Travis Demeritte and Alex Jackson have certainly been hot for the Stripers as of late. Demeritte hit a grand slam while Jackson contributed with a two run double in Gwinnett’s 11-3 victory.
- The Talking Chop staff gave their opinions of what the Braves approach should be at the deadline when it comes to being buyers or sellers. With how much situations have changed over the past 48 hours both in Atlanta and elsewhere, it seems “To Be Determined” may be the most sensible answer.
- Last night’s game between the Padres and the Nationals was suspended in the sixth inning due to some scary and unfortunate occurrences. As details of the incident are still developing, hope certainly centers on the safety and health of everyone involved.
- Yesterday was certainly a disappointing day for the New York Mets. On the same day that both Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom experienced injuries, the Mets lost to the Pirates on a final at-bat grand slam. It will be interesting to see how long Lindor and deGrom will be out for the Mets, and what impact it will have on their performance and trade deadline approach moving forward.
- St. Louis Cardinals Starter Kwang Hyun Kim had a memorable Saturday night. With his family in attendance, Kim produced six shutout innings. It certainly was an inspiring performance for both Kim and his family.
- As the second half of the 2021 MLB season begins, there are plenty of races to keep an eye on. MLB.com highlights the races to keep an eye on as the playoff picture comes in full focus with each passing day.