The Kansas City Royals have been the Braves Achilles’ Heel this season despite the fact they have only won 58 games all year. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday, as Atlanta’s bats came to life without Freddie Freeman or Ronald Acuña Jr. in the lineup, scoring ten runs in their first victory over the Royals in four attempts. However, most of the offensive production did come from some familiar names.
Dansby Swanson led the way with a career-high four hits. And the best part about it was they all came up the middle or to the opposite field, which is what he was doing when he broke out over the first 100 games of the season. It cannot be understated how much that might mean to this Braves lineup. Since returning from a heel injury that kept him out over a month, Swanson was hitting .141 with a .179 slugging percentage. He had not had a multi-hit game since September 2nd. If tonight was a sign of things to come, the Braves just became that much scarier of a team to face in October. Before his injury, Swanson had nearly a .800 OPS with 17 home runs. He’s still yet to homer since his return.
Another struggling Brave, Josh Donaldson, also broke out of his slump in the victory over the Royals. He doubled not once, not twice but three times, racking up four RBIs. While Donaldson hasn’t been in as brutal of a funk as Swanson, his .222 batting average, one double and four home runs in September is well below his typical standards, and his last extra-base hit came on September 9th.
These two are critical to the Braves success in the postseason. There isn’t much reason to worry about Donaldson; he should be just fine. But after Swanson’s lengthy slump, there was some warranted talk regarding whether he should be a starter in October. Adeiny Hechavarria has been a pleasant surprise, but he’s not nearly the caliber of player that Swanson is. Hopefully, this continues during the final series of the season in New York and carries over into the postseason.