Bright spots for the Braves in their opening series

cfm1907230837 braves vs royals

The Braves capped off their opening series of 2020 with a 14-1 clobbering of the Mets, giving them a 2-1 record and putting them atop the division before they head to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays. The big three of Acuña, Albies, and Freeman was quiet for the most part, which means other bats had to step up, and they did — a promising sign for Atlanta’s offense moving forward. 

Mike Soroka and Max Fried

This is probably the least surprising thing that happened in the opening series. After a four-month layoff, it’s to be expected for the bats to lag behind a little bit, and the Braves best pitchers took advantage of it, allowing just one earned run in 11 combined innings. The two easily could have gone much deeper into their respective games too. The Braves were just cautious since it was their first real start in ten months, limiting both of them to around 60-70 pitches. 

Dansby Swanson’s stick

Swanson was hitting ropes in the first two games but was the victim of some unfortunate luck. However, he capped off the series with three-hits, including a double and an opposite-field home run. Swanson’s currently batting .417, and he looks a lot like the guy who began last year rather than the one who ended it after suffering a heel injury. If that’s the Swanson the Braves are going to get over these 60 games; the offense will be scary. 

Welcome to Atlanta

The savior of the weekend was Marcell Ozuna, whose home run with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 2 sent the game to extra innings, and the Braves were able to win in the tenth. The Braves’ newest addition then followed it up with another home run and a double in the route of the Mets on Sunday. 

A star in the making?

William Contreras, brother of Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, was brought up to the major-league squad on short notice after Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers began experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus. He made his debut in Game 1 but did not have an at-bat. In Game 2, he finally did and came through with a clutch RBI double in the 10th inning. The Braves gave him the start in Game 3, and Contreras delivered again with three hits. Once d’Arnaud and Flowers return, it’s unlikely he remains on the roster, but this weekend was only a glimpse of another star the Braves could have in the making. 

The bullpen

I’ve been saying the bullpen was going to be an overwhelming strength for the Braves since January. Finally, we got to see that in action over the past three days. The ‘pen recorded a minuscule 0.71 ERA with 12 strikeouts and just 1 walk over 12.2 innings. And the scariest part for opponents is… the Braves were without two of their best relievers — Mark Melancon, who is day-to-day with back tightness, and Will Smith, who was just cleared to return after a stint with the coronavirus

Ender Inciarte

Inciarte had a magnificent Opening Day despite not recording a hit because of his defense. He robbed a home run and made several other plays in the gap that preserved Mike Soroka’s shut out over six innings. He also barely missed out on a home run in his first at-bat of the season. And after not starting in Game 2, he came up with two hits yesterday, including a double off the right-field wall with the bases loaded. 

 

 

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