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Braves take series against Mets; Soroka dominates in return from DL

The Braves hoped to come back to SunTrust Park and gain some ground in the NL East. The Mets (28-36), on the other hand, were looking to change their fortunes after a 1-8 stretch in their last 9 games. After a disappointing road trip, Atlanta was back to their winning ways. The offense came alive at a good time and the Braves (39-28) find themselves back at 1.5 games in first place in the NL East.

Braves vs. Mets 

Game 1: Braves win 8-2

Mike Foltynewicz looked to continue his impressive work on the mound this season. Folty looked very good through 5 innings (2 H, 6 K) of scoreless work. After Mike hit for himself in the bottom of the 5th, it looked like he was going to be able to get through 6 innings before turning it over to the bullpen. Unfortunately, Foltynewicz would leave the game with some tricep tightness.  Folty said after the game that there is nothing to worry about and that he should be able to make his next scheduled start. The Mets would score 2 runs off of Jesse Biddle in the top of the 6th but Atlanta made sure that lead didn’t last very long.

The bottom of the 6th inning saw the Braves score 6 runs and was started thanks to a lead off home run by Freddie Freeman. Inciarte would eventually drive in Camargo with a single to left field and give the Braves a 3-2 lead. The big blow of the inning came when the Mets bullpen relieved Zack Wheeler after Atlanta loaded the bases with 2 outs. Ozzie Albies absolutely crushed a 90 mph fastball into the Chop House for his second grand slam of the year. That’s the first time an Atlanta Brave has hit two grand slams in a season since Brian McCann did so back in 2012. It was encouraging to see the offense have success with runners in scoring position again.

Game 2: Braves win 2-0

Atlanta faced the tall task of hitting against Jacob deGrom who is arguably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball right now. deGrom has been incredible all year but the Mets have struggled to back him up offensively and the bullpen has let him down many times. That would be the case again as deGrom went 7 innings allowing just 1 earned run on 4 hits and striking out 7 batters. Unfortunately for the Mets, Mike Soroka came off the DL and pitched one heck of a game. Soroka pitched 6 1/3 fantastic innings allowing no earned runs on just 1 hit and striking out 4 batters. Soroka also only allowed 2 base runners during his outing for the Braves.

Soroka showed some amazing presence on the mound and even after the game in interviews. I’m continually impressed with the maturity that Mike possesses. He certainly doesn’t carry himself like you would expect a 20 year old to carry themselves. During the broadcast, we learned that Anibal Sanchez helped Mike work on some mechanics during his DL stint to gain more effective movement on his pitches. It clearly paid off for Soroka as the Mets couldn’t find an answer to his pitches. Freddie Freeman drove in both runs scored by Atlanta in the series finale. The first run was driven in on a RBI single to left field that was mishandled by Mets’ outfielder Brandon Nimmo and allowed Dansby Swanson to score from 2nd base. The second run came on a solo homer by Freeman that stayed in the air forever and just kept going until it found the right field seats.

Takeaways: 

-Ozzie Albies hit his 16th home run in game 2 against New York and has started to slowly come out of his slump. The Braves desperately need their lead off man to start performing. That home run was the first hit by Albies in 17 games that saw him go 12 for 74 (.162 avg). The last Atlanta Braves second baseman to accomplish multiple grand slams in a season was Davey Johnson back in 1973.

-Dansby Swanson has been tearing up this past week for Atlanta. He made a couple defensive gems in the second game against New York that show just how much range he has. In the last 7 games, Swanson has hit .274 and his fielding percentage is up to .975. Dansby’s improved defensive play has helped out a lot and I hope that it continues.

-Freddie Freeman is absolutely on a tear right now. Freeman has hit 5 home runs in his last 7 games (3 of them consecutively). Freddie also has a .385 average in his last 24 games and has hit safely in 23 of those. He leads the National League in hitting with a .344 average including 14 home runs and 48 RBIs. He is also tied with Nick Markakis for the most hits in the NL with 88 of them this season. Freeman also leads in OPS (1.025), SLG (.590), and WAR (3.42) in the National League. He is having yet another MVP caliber season and there is no reason he shouldn’t be starting the All-Star game come July.

The Braves take on the Padres starting tomorrow evening. Probable pitchers and start times are listed below.

Braves vs. Padres

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

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

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

Game 4: 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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