Atlanta Braves ruin Rockies home opener

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves hits an RBI single during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at SunTrust Park on March 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 30: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves hits an RBI single during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at SunTrust Park on March 30, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves’ bats stayed hot in the snow as they dominate the Rockies in the season’s first snow game.

The Atlanta Braves (4-2) hooked up with the Colorado Rockies (4-3) for the first of a three game set in a rather unusual weather situation, at least unusual to the Braves.

The game was delayed to a 5:10 ET start time as Coors Field and most of Colorado experienced an April snow shower. While this snowy weather is not foreign in April to people in Colorado, it is however not what the players on the Braves are used to in the mostly warm confines of SunTrust Park. Enough about the weather, let’s get to the ballgame.

Brandon McCarthy, a native of Colorado, was on the hill for the Bravos and accomplished something that no Braves starter has been able to achieve so far this season. McCarthy made it through 6 innings tonight, earning himself the first quality start of the season for Braves’ starters

“I think it’s easier for the pitcher than it is the hitter,” McCarthy said in regards to playing the game in the frigid temperature.

McCarthy threw 88 pitches through the 6 innings, tallying 4 strikeouts and only one walk. He was, however, unable to keep the Rockies from leaving the yard twice as Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story went deep in the bottom of the fourth. Story’s solo shot was especially impressive.

The Rockies bats were only able to muster three runs in the game, the other coming from an RBI triple off the bat of CarGo in the bottom of the first. The top-ranked offense of the Braves looked to continue their impressive start to the season against the Rockies starter, German Marquez.

Bats Stay Hot

The fun got started right out of the gate for the Braves in the snow as Ozzie Albies took Marquez deep on the second pitch of the at-bat. Albies golfed a slider over the right-field wall for his second homer of the season.

The Braves then added three more runs in the top of the first after Marquez allowed consecutive walks to Freeman and Markakis, an RBI single to Suzuki, and a 2-run triple to Dansby Swanson. the Braves led 4-0 after the top of the first inning.

Later in the top of the fifth inning, Swanson was at it again as he ripped an RBI double down the left-field line that scored Preston Tucker. With his best Mike Foltynewicz impression, Brandon McCarthy chipped in with an RBI double of his own that scored Swanson and Flaherty, making the score 7-3 Braves.

The eighth and final run for the Braves was scored in the top of the sixth as Freddie Freeman got in on the action as he flicked an RBI single to right, scoring Albies from second. Freeman pulls of swings that only he can do, which never fails to amaze me. The pitch he hit was no where near the zone, but he went down and put a good enough swing on it to drive the run in.

The league-leading Braves’ offense pushed its run total to 56 runs to this point of the 2018 season. This number is a modern-era franchise record for runs scored in the first seven games of a season. The previous high was 53 runs scored by the 2006 Braves club and the 1900 Boston Beaneaters.

Brian Snitker talked after the game about the biggest reason to the Braves early success with the bats. “Everybody’s contributing is the biggest reason,” Snitker told the media after the offense kept it rolling.

The guys in this lineup have been fun to watch this year so far. Most of these guys have been given the best opportunity of their careers, and they are not taking it for granted as they continue to hit the ball well.

Swanson Comes Close…Real Close to the Cycle

Dansby Swanson came about 20-30 feet short of becoming the eighth Brave in history to hit for the cycle. The last guy to complete the cycle was Freddie Freeman back on June 15th, 2016.

Swanson collected a triple, single, and double in his first three at-bats in tonight’s game. He came up in the 7th with a chance to hit a home run, and complete the infamous cycle.

He took a pitch the other way, driving it deep to right-field. Carlos Gonzalez ranged back to the track, Braves’ fans using the force to push the ball over the wall, and hauled in the fly-ball to retire Dansby and keep the cycle out of reach….for the time being.

Swanson got one more at-bat in the 9th, but he lined out to right-field to end his night. It was still a very impressive outing again for Swanson as he continues his hot start inn 2018.

His improvements at the plate that he made this offseason and during spring training have really paid off. Let’s hope that this continues, and that this Dansby Swanson is the one that we will continue to watch for years to come.

Next: 5 Players to watch in ATL/COL Series

Next up for these two teams will be game 2 of the series tomorrow night at 8:10 ET. The Braves will send Anibal Sanchez to the hill to make his season and Braves debut. The Rockies will counter with veteran righty Chad Bettis.