For most of the season, the Braves rotation has carried the team. Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Huascar Ynoa, and Ian Anderson have been as reliable of a top four as any, and Brian Snitker has also gotten positive contributions from Tucker Davidson, Kyle Muller, Touki Toussaint, and Drew Smyly at times. However, over the last month, Fried and Morton have been the only ones holding up their share of the bargain.
Since August 28th, no Braves starter other than Fried or Morton had made it through six innings entering Wednesday night. Fortunately, that changed against the Diamondbacks, as Ian Anderson put together his best performance since re-joining the team from the Injured List.
The only blemish on Anderson’s night occurred in the first. A walk to Ketel Marte came back to bite him when Kole Calhoun smacked a two-out double into the left field corner, scoring Marte. After that, the rookie (yes, Anderson is still a rookie) didn’t surrender another run, finishing seven innings and setting down the last 17 batters he faced.
The bats were able to pick him up, too. The onslaught began in the first inning and was highlighted by an Adam Duvall three-run homer that turned out… not to be a homer. Take a look:
Thankfully, the Braves didn’t end up needing that extra run. Austin Riley, Freddie Freeman, and Ozzie Albies helped stretch the lead later on with homers of their own. Albies’ home run was particularly historic, as it made him the third member of the Braves infield to mash 30 homers. But most importantly, he became the first Braves second baseman ever to record a season with 30+ bombs and 100+ RBIs.
#Braves second basemen with 30 homers and 100 RBI in a season in franchise history:
Ozzie Albies (2021)
– End of list – https://t.co/BUHmYZybio
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 23, 2021
For Anderson, it was arguably the best outing of his season — one the Braves desperately needed to see from him. If this team is going to do anything in the postseason, he must be that #3 behind Fried and Morton.