Atlanta Braves offense fights back again, but strange situations led to a loss

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves runs to second base after hitting a RBI double in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park on September 19, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves runs to second base after hitting a RBI double in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park on September 19, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves looked to keep the momentum going after a walk-off win on Opening Day as they faced the Phillies for Game 2 of the season

Coming off of an exhilarating walk-off win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day, Mike Foltynewicz and the Atlanta Braves took on Nick Pivetta and the Fightin’ Phills in game 2 of the 2018 season.

Folty was unable to go deep into the game as he was pulled after 5 innings of work because of pitch count. He had the strikeout pitch working as he collected 7 K’s and only allowed one walk in 5 innings, but threw 92 pitches.

“There’s a couple pitches I wish I could have had back…but at the same time, they were solo shots,” Foltynewicz said referring to the solo home runs by Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana.

Folty threw the ball well and showed poise by bouncing back after missing his spot a time or two.

Santana’s homer put the Phillies back level with the Braves in the top of the 5th, after the Braves had taken the lead through a Dansby Swanson RBI single. Nick Williams had an RBI single of his own to give the Phillies the lead 4-3 in the top of the 6th.

Bottom of the 8th…Here we go!

Preston Tucker tied the game in the bottom of the 8th the night before, and came to the plate in the bottom of the 6th with a chance to do that again. With Freddie Freeman on third base, Tucker battled with Luis Garcia until he flipped a 2-2 pitch into left-field to tie the game up at 4-4.

Then, Braves manager Brian Snitker decided to take Tucker out and replace him with Peter Bourjos.  This was a huge decision…

Dansby Swanson then ripped a fastball to the left-field wall that sent Bourjos off to the races. Bourjos was waved home and initially the call at the plate was safe, sending SunTrust Park and all of Braves Country into a frenzy as it seemed that the Braves had done the impossible again!!

Unfortunately, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler had other ideas…

Kapler challenged the call at the plate, and the call was then overturned after it showed that the right leg of Bourjos was in the air as Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp tagged him on the hand as he slid by. This sent the game to 9th with the score still tied 4-4.

11th Inning

After Arodys Vizcaino got out of trouble in the 9th and either team failed to score, the Braves called upon Shane Carle to pitch into extra innings.

Carle pitched well in the 10th and came back out to pitch the 11th.

After striking out Jorge Alfaro, back to back singles by J.P. Crawford and Cesar Hernandez out runners on the corners for Carlos Santana. On a 2-2 count, Santana laced a line drive to left that was deep enough to allow Crawford to score from third.

The Phillies took the lead 5-4, and held on to win game 2 of the 2018 season.

“It’s a shame it didn’t go our way,” Dansby Swanson said to the media following the loss on Friday night.

The resilient Braves were denied a 2-0 start as Gabe Kapler and the Phillies earned their first win of 2018.

Questionable Managing…Again

Now I’m in no way more capable of being a major-league manager than Brian Snitker is, but he’s made some iffy calls in the first two games that kind of make me scratch my head.

He used way too many pitchers on Opening Day, and then used up all of the available position players on the bench in the 9th inning of a tied game.

This left the Braves without anyone to possibly pinch-hit in a situation in extra innings. This forced Shane Carle to come to the plate in the 11th, rather than having a more capable hitter to pinch hit and give the Braves a better chance of getting someone on base as they looked to claw back again.

Yes Bourjos is faster than Tucker and yes Culberson may be a better defender than Swanson, but I just didn’t see the point in burning two of your substitutions in that matter. I would’ve much rather had either one of them available to hit for Carle. But hindsight is always 20/20…..right?

Suzuki Gets Hit

Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Kurt Suzuki got plunked on the hand by a 94-MPH fastball. This comes just after Tyler Flowers was placed on the 10-day DL with a strained oblique.

When asked about the status of Suzuki, Brian Snitker said, “We’ll know tomorrow…it’s probably iffy if he’ll be available.”

Chris Stewart now stands as the only healthy catcher on the Braves roster. Look for someone like Rob Brantly to get called up to back-up Stewart if Suzuki is unavailable.

Braves General Manager Alex Anthopolous may also look to the remaining free-agent catchers for  possible option that would fit better than an internal option. Guys like Cameron Rupp and Derek Norris are two names that the Braves could look at if Suzuki’s injury is more significant.

Next: Suzuki Hit in Hand, Exits Game

The Braves and Phillies wrap up the first series of 2018 on Saturday as Brandon McCarthy takes on Vincent Velasquez. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at SunTrust Park.