After scoring 13 runs combined in the first two games of the series, Stephen Strasburg had the answer for the Braves lineup in Game 3, tossing six scoreless innings and allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts. Fortunately, just as everybody expected, the Braves also had an answer for the National lineup.
In what was supposed to be a bullpen game for the Braves, Huascar Ynoa made the start and was pretty much flawless over five innings, allowing just two hits and no runs with five strikeouts, and he needed just 82 pitches to do so. It was easily the best performance by any of the Braves starters thus far, which is even more impressive when considering Atlanta’s starting pitching has been pretty rock solid through the first week of the season.
We will see what this means moving forward. The Braves are currently working with a four-man rotation, but that’s only possible because the number of off days they have to begin the season. Surely, they will give Ynoa some more opportunities until Soroka is ready to return. Unfortunately, Soroka suffered a setback in his rehabbing and will not throw again for at least two more weeks. Ynoa will have to continue to pitch like he did today.
As far as the rest of the game is concerned, there was finally some action in the final inning (which is the 7th because it was a double-header). Dansby Swanson was able to get on with a two-out single, and then Brian Snitker made the genius decision to turn to Pablo Sandoval over Alex Jackson, and the Panda delivered with another clutch home run to give the Braves a lead.
Because Will Smith already pitched in Game 1 of the doubleheader, it was Sean Newcomb who toed the rubber for the final three outs, and he looked much better than his fellow southpaw did earlier in the day, striking out the side and giving the Braves another critical win as they were able to win their first two games on the same day. How often has that happened? I can’t imagine very much. The Braves will take the field again on Friday for their home opener against the Phillies.