Braves big guns show life against Rays

MLB: JUN 16 Rays at Braves

The Braves offense, or lack thereof, has been the talk of the last month. A historic group from a year ago returning almost the exact same guys, the Braves entered this past weekend the worst in terms of producing runs over the last six weeks, but perhaps the Tampa Bay Rays will prove to be exactly what this team needed to get things churning in the right direction.

The offensive onslaught began on Friday, when who else but Marcell Ozuna put the Braves on the board with his 19th home run of the season. However, the story of the day and the entire series really was Austin Riley, who doubled and homered in the first two innings, as the Braves jumped out to a 7-1 lead, one they would not relinquish.

Atlanta’s third baseman homered and walked twice in Game 2 of the series, only to be outdone by Marcell Ozuna again, who hit his second homer of the series as well, one of his three hits. Matt Olson also hit a homer, as the Braves 3-5 batters in the lineup racked up seven hits, six RBIs, and three longballs on the night.

Olson and Riley would stay hot on Sunday too. They combined for five hits, and Riley recorded his third home run of the series, a shot that tied the game up in the 8th inning after the Rays got the best of rookie Hurston Waldrep. Unfortunately, Raisel Iglesias couldn’t shut the door in the ninth, and Tampa Bay was able to salvage the series, but this was the kind of offensive onslaught, particularly from the Braves big dogs, that everybody has been expecting for going on two months.

In total, the Braves scored 22 runs over their three games with the Rays, and they’ve now scored at least six runs in four straight, leading to a 3-1 record. Prior to that, Atlanta had not scored six runs in back-to-back games dating back to April 15th-16th, when they swept the Houston Astros.

It’s been an almost unfathomable stretch considering what this team proved capable of doing to opposing pitchers a year ago. But it always seemed like this funk would eventually subside. There’s simply way too much talent in Atlanta for them to be one of the worst offenses in baseball. If this is a sign of things to come, perhaps a seventh straight NL East title could be in the cards after all.

Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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