Your Atlanta Braves are one win or one Mets loss away from their fifth consecutive NL East division title. However unlikely the analytics said it would be, the club never stopped believing and did the impossible, sweeping their rivals in a three-game series at Truist Park. Matt Olson and Dansby Swanson had home runs in each game against three of the best pitchers in baseball in Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Chris Bassitt. But the most notable performance for me was the Braves bullpen, which was nearly perfect.
On Friday, Max Fried got the start and went five innings of one-run ball before puking his way out of the game. Colin McHugh, Raisel Iglesias, AJ Minter, and Kenley Jansen would come in to shut down the Mets in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings — in that order. McHugh and Iglesias didn’t allow a single hit, with the latter recording one strikeout. Minter gave up a home run but quickly closed out the eighth inning afterward. And Jansen gave Braves Country a heart attack after loading the bases but ended up closing out the series’ first game.
On Saturday, Kyle Wright was on the bump and also went five innings before getting the hook. This time, Brian Snitker turned to Dylan Lee and Jesse Chavez for the sixth and seventh innings. Lee had a perfect sixth, and Chavez surrendered just one hit along with a punchout. Iglesias and Jansen handled the final two frames, with both relievers recording a pair of strikeouts without a hit, marking the second win of the series.
In the series finale, Charlie Morton had a rough outing, surrendering two home runs and three earned runs over 4.1 innings pitched. The bullpen once again saved the day. Snitker called upon Lee, McHugh, Iglesias, Minter, and Jansen in that order, who combined for just two hits, one walked batter, four strikeouts, and no earned runs — completing the sweep.
In the three-game set against the Mets, the Braves bullpen allowed just one earned run and seven hits over 12.2 innings pitched with just two walks and 14 strikeouts. That’ll play, boys; that’ll play. Snitker deserves equal praise, too, for managing a near-perfect series. We could look at a bevy of position players who had game-changing moments, but I believe the relievers deserve the most praise for their work in this series.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire