Atlanta Braves need 2019 version of Ozzie Albies tonight

Ozzie Albies - spark plug of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Ozzie Albies - spark plug of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Braves won game one with two homers in the ninth but lost a right-handed power bat along the way. The team needs its energizer bunny now more than ever.

The Atlanta Braves won NLCS Game 1 with one of their patented late-inning bullpen demolition jobs but lost Adam Duvall for the season, replacing him on the roster with Johan Camargo.

Duvall’s bat went silent after his three-homer game against the Marlins on September 9, batting .169/.270/.338/.609 in his next 74 PA. The slump carried through into postseason play, as he managed only two hits and a walk in 21 PA; much of that due to facing a series of right-handed power arms.

Even though he was slumping, Duvall’s ability to hit lefties was needed, as the club prepared to face a Dodger staff that includes Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias, Jake McGee, Alex Wood, and others. Kershaw is now sidelined with back issues, but losing Duvall’s potential for a power explosion is significant.

Ozzie Albies’ homer in the top of the ninth broke game-one open and sealed the Atlanta Braves victory in game one, and he showed signs of heating up against the Marlins.

Both of those are good omens because, as I noted in our podcast, the key for an Atlanta Braves victory centers on Albies being the “energizer bunny” in the Braves lineup.

Paging Ozzie Albies – 2019

Great defense pumps up the pitching, and Ozzie’s defense was crucial in both the Wildcard, LDS, and winning game one, but nothing light up a lineup like Ozzie on the base paths.

Last season was a breakout year for the Atlanta Braves second-sacker. Albies’ 189 hits led the National League and finished fifth in MLB. Since his first full season in 2018, Albies sits in the top-ten among all qualified second basemen in all of these categories:

  • Third in runs scored.
  • Fourth in hits
    • Second in doubles
    • Fifth in homers
  • Fifth in stolen bases
  • Fifth in fWAR
  • Seventh in BA  (.278)
  • Seventh in  ISO (.001 out of sixth)
  • ninth in wOBA
  • tenth in wRC+

Numbers can’t measure the excitement Albies generates among his teammates when he’s hitting the ball into the gap and flying around the bases.

With Duvall missing, Albies at-bats are more important than ever.

That’s a wrap.

The Atlanta Braves miss Kershaw tonight and must take advantage of his emergency replacement Tony Gonsolin.

Gonsolin is no slouch, patching to a 2.31 ERA, 2.29 FIP, and 0.836 WHIP in 46-2/3 innings over eight starts and one relief appearance.

The trick is to do what they did late last night, force manager Dave Roberts to go to his bullpen early and often.

Next. Reality check, please?. dark

Taking game two would change the odds on the series significantly, and Ozzie Albies in the man to lead the charge.