What many Braves fans hoped would be an easy series turned out to be a nightmare for Atlanta. The Orioles came into this series sporting a 21-52 record. However, as many baseball fans know, often times the worst teams beat the teams they have no business beating. Luckily, the Braves would avoid the sweep as the salvaged the final game of the series and ended their 3 game losing streak.
Braves vs. Orioles
Game 1: Braves lose 10-7
It took 15 innings to decide who would take this one home. Sean Newcomb and Alex Cobb were locked in a pitching duel through 7 innings. Newcomb pitched well as he only allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits and struck out 3 batters. Atlanta trailed 1-0 through the first 6 innings before Camargo drove in the tying run on a RBI double in the bottom of the 7th. Charlie Culberson broke that tie in the bottom of the 8th as he hit a 2-run double to give the Braves a 3-1 lead. Most of us expected to see Vizcaino come in and try to lock down the save, however, Dan Winkler got the call in the top of the 9th (we learned later that Vizcaino has been dealing with shoulder soreness). The pressure of the final 3 outs was seeemingly too tough for Winkler as the Orioles touched him for 4 runs in 1/3 of an inning to give the Orioles a 7-3 lead.
Things looked bleak for Atlanta as we got to the bottom of the 9th. However, fans would be treated to yet another late inning come back for the Braves. Orioles closer Zach Britton was recently activated from the disabled list and the Braves greeted him by scoring 4 runs on 5 hits. Camargo hit a single to lead off the inning followed by a double from Danny Santana. Inciarte was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Atlanta. Ozzie Albies promptly hit a RBI single that drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman would then hit a 2-run single into left field. Markakis greeted his former teammate by hitting a RBI double to right field. Freddie Freeman was waved around third and thrown out at the plate but Markakis advanced to third. Unfortunately, that would be all the runs Atlanta could as they stranded Markakis at 3rd base with one out. Manny Machado hit a go-ahead 2-run home run to break the tie in the top of the 15th inning.
Game 2: Braves lose 7-5
Julio Teheran had an abismal 1st inning performance that put the Braves in a deep hole early in the game. Mark Trumbo launched a grand slam off of Julio after he issued two walks and allowed a double in the opening frame. Julio only lasted 4 2/3 innings on 90 pitches allowing 7 runs on 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out 6. The bleeding didn’t stop after the 1st inning as Teheran allowed a 3-run double off the bat of Chris Davis. The Braves found themselves down 7-2 after the 5th inning. The Braves tried to mount a come back as Markakis hit a 2-run double in the 7th inning and Culberson scored on a RBI single from Ozzie Albies in the 8th to bring Atlanta within 2 runs of the Orioles. However, that’s all the runs Atlanta could get and that first inning grand slam by the Orioles proved costly in the end.
Game 3: Braves win 7-3
Brandon McCarthy pitched a decent game as he went 5 innings allowing 3 earned runs on 5 hits while striking out 5 batters. All 3 earned runs came via home run (Mancini hit a solo shot and Trumbo hit a 2-run homer). The offense recovered in this game as they scored 2 runs in the first inning. Markakis and Culberson each had RBI doubles in the game. Dansby Swanson slugged a line drive pinch hit home run in the bottom of the 8th inning as the Braves took the series finale. The bullpen was impressive in this game as they allowed no runs and only one hit across 4 innings of relief.
-Inciarte and Albies are starting to heat up again and that’s very important for the Braves. When those two were getting on base the offense was unstoppable. Albies batted .563 (9 for 16) in this series and it seems that the 2-hole may be where Ozzie likes hitting the most. Inciarte hit .267 (4 for 15) in this series with a couple of walks and that’s encouraging to see him start getting on base again. Over his last 10 games, Inciarte is batting .308 and has driven in 6 runs. His on base percentage was at .386 over that span as well. The Braves desperately need he and Albies to continue their good work.
-A concern for the offense is that they left 31 runners on base in this series. The Braves cannot afford to leave that many base runners on. Especially with a tough stretch of games coming up with the Cardinals, Brewers, and Yankees. We will need to be as opportunistic as possible if we are going to compete in those games.
This was a tough series to lose as they Braves hoped to increase their lead in the division. They’ll get the opportunity against the Reds who have struggled most of the season to win. However, the Reds are riding a 7 game winning streak and just completed a 4 game sweep of the Chicago Cubs. Mike Foltynewicz will make his first start since being placed on the 10-day disabled list. He will be a welcome sight for the Braves as he has been lights out most of the season for the Braves.
Braves vs. Reds
Game 1: Foltynewicz (5-4) vs. Mahle (6-6) at 7:35 pm
Game 2: Sanchez (3-1) vs. Harvey (2-5) at 7:35 pm
Game 3: Newcomb (8-2) vs. Castillo (5-8) at 12:10 pm