The Braves miraculous comeback on Sunday is still less than three days old; however, it feels like it was weeks ago.
As fun as that afternoon and evening was, the momentum from that moment feels like a distant memory. These words are not meant to be hyperbole or dramatic, just simply a way to express how disappointing this team continues to play this season each and every time it seems they finally have a little spark to work with. After scoring five runs in the ninth and tenth innings on Sunday, the Braves have responded with a series loss and two total runs over 18 innings against the Pirates.
Last night, eight Braves reached base the entire game. Seven of the last eight batters that stepped to the plate for Pittsburgh successfully reached base via three hits and four walks. Though A.J. Minter escaped after the loading the bases with two outs, Tyler Matzek had zero effectiveness as he allowed three walks and a single to four straight batters and walked in the winning run in a 2-1 losing effort. Over the past two games, the Braves have combined for 11 hits, six walks, two runs and 16 strikeouts.
Orlando Arcia has certainly done his part, as he has four hits, two runs, two RBIs, a walk and a home run in his first three games in Atlanta. He certainly has been a needed “spark” for the bottom of the order. However, both Dansby Swanson and the catcher’s position has struggled mightily over the past week. It simply is hard to expect the Braves to put together a stretch of offensive success right now when at least half of their lineup is unlikely to contribute on a nightly basis.
The end result of the past two days has seen the Braves go from 3 1⁄2 games behind the Mets and sole possession of second place on Sunday to currently being five games behind New York and a fourth place status in the NL East. The goal for now is to find a way to avoid a sweep today and somehow figure out how to get to .500 by the All-Star Break.
- Despite plenty of disappointment on the field for Atlanta, the honors keep rolling in for Ozzie Albies. After receiving the second All-Star nod of his career on Sunday, Albies was named the NL Player of the Week on Tuesday. It was the first such honor in his career, and well deserved recognition for his strong stretch of play over the past several weeks.
- In an unexpected development, Pablo Sandoval was placed on the restricted list yesterday. The Braves called up Jacob Webb to take Sandoval’s roster spot. Brian Snitker stated there is a reasonable chance Sandoval could be activated back to the roster before the All-Star Break.
- With the MLB Draft mere days away, there are plenty of arms that could intrigue the Braves this year. Talking Chop’s Matt Powers looks at some amateur southpaws that could make sense for Atlanta, while Kris Willis answers some specific MLB Draft questions in this week’s TC mailbag.
- While he will have to wait until next year, amateur outfielder Druw Jones is already making waves as a future star. If his connection to the Braves does not seem obvious, Druw Jones is the son of Braves legend Andruw Jones. His path to the MLB Draft will be fun to watch over the next year.
- As they grasp stronger control of the NL Central by the day, the Brewers continue to make moves to strengthen their offense. On Tuesday, Milwaukee sent relievers Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis to the Blue Jays for first baseman Rowdy Tellez. It actually was a beneficial trade for both the Brewers and the Blue Jays, as Toronto once again made a move to add depth to its bullpen.
- One of the best moments for any MLB player is launching multiple home runs in the same game. However, for Houston’s Yordan Alvarez, last night had a bit of extra significance. In his first game back since becoming a father for the first time, Alvarez helped the Astros win a key divisional game over the Athletics.
- Chicago White Sox southpaw Carlos Rodon made his final case to be the AL’s starter in the All-Star game with a dominant performance. Rodon has been consistent all year, and a much needed boost to the White Sox emergence as one of the more balanced teams in the American League.
- Due to a rainout last night between the Brewers and Mets, MLB fans everywhere are in for a treat later today. Two of the NL’s best pitchers, Corbin Burnes and Jacob deGrom, will face off in the first game of a double header tomorrow between Milwaukee and New York. Though the matchup will be a blast to see, Braves fans everywhere will certainly be cheering for Burnes and the Brewers to emerge victorious.