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The West Coast Continues To Be Tough On Atlanta; Drop Series Against Padres And Dodgers

Atlanta took a trip to the west coast hoping to gain some separation in the NL East division race. They would face the Padres and Dodgers who each seemingly hit their stride in the past week. Each team was 7-3 across the last 10 games played. The west coast has not been kind to the Braves as they haven’t won a road series against the Padres or Dodgers since 2014.

Braves at Padres

Game 1: Braves lose 11-4

This game saw the Padres notch 9 extra base hits to pummel the Braves. Julio Teheran allowed 3 home runs in just 4 innings of work in San Diego. The floodgates opened in the fifth inning as Luiz Gohara allowed 6 earned runs over just 2/3 of an inning. Clayton Richard all but handled the Braves offense as he went 7 innings (3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K) and looked like he had one of the best starts of his season so far.

Game 2: Braves win 14-1

Atlanta’s offense seemed to find it’s stride in game 2. Freeman, Markakis, and Swanson all homered in a 14 run, 18 hit performance by the Braves. Sean Newcomb pitched very well as he lasted 6 innings allowing no earned runs on 3 hits while striking out 4 batters. Luke Jackson had a good outing as well (3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) to give the bullpen some time to rest. Freddie Freeman would finish the game a triple shy of hitting for the cycle as he had a 4-4 day at the plate.

Game 3: Braves lose 3-1

With Foltynewicz on the mound and the Padres using their bullpen to start and finish the game, it looked like Atlanta was going to have a good shot at winning the series. Unfortunately, the only run Atlanta would score would come from a first inning home run from Freddie Freeman. The Braves offense struggled as they were held to 4 hits in the game. Mike Foltynewicz had a rather short outing following his complete game shut out of the Nationals in his previous start. Folty finished with 5 innings of work allowing 2 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 3 batters and also striking out 8 of them. The offense just couldn’t bail him out of this one.

Braves at Dodgers 

Game 1: Braves lose 7-3

The Dodgers came into this series with Atlanta on a hot streak. They have been hitting tons of home runs this season despite the struggles early on. That didn’t stop in game 1 of their series with the Braves. Los Angeles slugged out 5 home runs in this game (all of them solo shots) including 2 from catcher Yasmani Grandal. Brandon McCarthy struggled to get through 4 2/3 innings of work for the Braves. He allowed 4 earned runs on 5 hits with 1 walk and 4 strike outs.

Game 2: Braves win 5-3

Much like the second game of the Padres series, Atlanta’s offense would come alive in game 2 against Los Angeles. Anibal Sanchez took the mound for Atlanta against former Brave Alex Wood. It looked like the Dodgers were going to continue the home run parade early on as Muncy homered in the first inning. Luckily, Sanchez was able to settle in and finish 5 1/3 innings of work allowing just 2 earned runs on 3 hits while striking out 5 Dodgers batters. The Braves would chase Alex Wood after 4 2/3 innings of work. Tyler Flowers and Charlie Culberson had big days at the plate. Flowers finished 2-4 with 3 RBIs while Culberson went 3-4 with 1 RBI. Dansby Swanson had a 2-5 day and scored 3 of the 5 runs plated by Atlanta.

Game 3: Braves lose 7-2

Sean Newcomb had a rough outing as the Dodgers touched him for 5 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman accounted for the 2 runs scored by Atlanta. They each hit solo home runs in the 4th inning off of Ross Stripling. Stripling would only allow those 2 runs as he finished 6 2/3 innings allowing just 4 hits and striking out 6 batters. Atlanta left 5 men on base and that proved to be costly in the series finale with Los Angeles. The Braves didn’t struggle to score with runners in scoring position early on this season and they’ll need to start capitalizing again soon if they wish to stay in the division race.

All in all this was a tough road trip for the Braves and it seems we ran into these two teams at the wrong time. It was encouraging, however, to see Dansby Swanson start to swing the bat well as he has a .286 average over his last seven games. Newcomb and Foltynewicz struggled but still continued their good work on the mound. It’s encouraging to see the young pitchers stepping up when the offense has struggled. The Braves will look forward to getting Acuna Jr. and Soroka back in the next week or so.

Takeaways: 

-Mike Foltynewicz has been impressive this season as he possess a 2.67 K/BB ratio and 10.7 strike outs per 9 innings. That’s elite level stats, folks. Folty is also 13th in FIP among starting pitching with a 2.98 FIP. For those of you who may not know, FIP basically records the things a pitcher can control the most such as strike outs, unintentional walks,  hit-by-pitches, and home runs. He has also allowed 2 runs or less in 12 of his 13 starts.

-Dan Winkler continues his great work as he possesses a 1.03 ERA across 26 1/3 innings of work. Winkler has 37 strike outs in 28 games and has a WHIP of 0.76 and is arguably the most reliable option in the Braves bullpen. Let’s hope that Winkler can continue to succeed the way he has so far. Hopefully, the Braves starting staff can find a way to go 6 or 7 innings each start to allow the bullpen to have a smaller workload.

-Freddie Freeman continues his incredible work at the plate as he has the 5th best batting average in all of Major League Baseball. Freeman is hitting .340 on the season with 12 home runs and 45 RBIs. He is also tied with Nick Markakis for the most hits in the National League with 85 of them. His on base percentage is ridiculous at .430 and has an equally impressive slugging percentage at .568 which is good enough for second in the National League in each category.

Atlanta heads home for a 2-game series against the Mets and a 4 game series with the Padres. They’ll look to redeem themselves from a rough road trip. The Braves are fortunate enough to come home still tied for first place in the division. Probable starters and start times for each game will be listed below.

Braves vs. Mets

Game 1: Mike Folytnewicz (5-4) vs. Zack Wheeler (2-4) 7:30 pm EST

Game 2: Mike Soroka (1-1) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-1) 12:10 pm EST

Braves vs. Padres 

Game 1: Brandon McCarthy (5-3) vs. Tyson Ross (5-3) 7:35 pm EST

Game 2: Julio Teheran (4-4) vs. Clayton Richard (5-6) 7:35 pm EST

Game 3: Sean Newcomb (7-2) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-3) 5:10 pm EST

Game 4: Mike Foltynewicz (5-4) vs. TBA 1:35 pm EST

 

Master of Arts student in Communication at Liberty University Online. One of the biggest baseball fans you will ever meet. Proudly covering college, MiLB, and Braves baseball for Peachtree Pennant.

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