We should’ve known that Tuesday’s return to Spring Training action was going to be a long one when Ozzie Albies was scratched from the lineup with neck stiffness. Injuries are what every team is trying to avoid this time of year, but thankfully, his absence appears to be purely precautionary. Brian Snitker had this to say after the game regarding his decision to remove Albies from the lineup.
Ozzie Albies had some neck stiffness when he arrived today, thus he was scratched from the lineup. He received some treatment and Brian Snitker said they weren't going to take any chances for a Spring Training game. #Braves
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) March 9, 2021
The rest of the afternoon was equally as ugly in every aspect. Drew Smyly started for the Braves in his second outing of the spring but wasn’t nearly as efficient as his first time out. He ran into trouble in the second inning, surrendering three runs, and then gave up two more in the third without recording an out before being pulled. His final scoreline read two innings, eight hits, one walk, five earned runs, and three strikeouts.
Phil Pfeifer helped Smyly out of the jam, allowing no runs of his own in the third, and was relieved by Bryse Wilson, who also wasn’t nearly as crisp in his second appearance of the spring. The 23-year-old did make it through three innings but gave up two runs on four hits. He did strike out four batters, however.
A.J. Minter was in charge of the seventh and was unable to slow down the Pirates’ bats. He gave up a solo shot and a double, which resulted in two more runs, but all three of his outs came via the strikeout. Grant Dayton pitched the eighth and also surrendered a solo home run before Luke Jackson nearly pitched a perfect ninth, allowing just one walk.
While the Pittsburgh bats were going crazy, Atlanta’s were completely silent. Despite their lineup being full of everyday players, they couldn’t muster a hit through eight innings. Thankfully, Phillip Ervin broke up the no-hitter in the ninth to avoid embarrassment, but it was undoubtedly an afternoon to forget for the Braves. Wins and losses may not mean much during Spring Training; still, no team ever wants to look that poorly.
Atlanta’s Spring Training schedule continues tomorrow with another 1:05 PM ET matchup against the Boston Red Sox.