The Atlanta Braves have the Wright stuff as they defeat the Cubs
The Atlanta Braves move to 6-8 thanks to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Is this the start of a turnaround?
The Atlanta Braves have aged me 30 years in the past week. Whether it be a blown review at home, poor luck on the offensive end, injuries, or loading the bases in the 9th inning, Braves games have been a rollercoaster of emotions this past week.
Those emotions started earlier today when it was announced that Kyle Wright would be filling in for Drew Smyly who would be heading to the 10-day IL. It does not look to be a serious injury, so Wright may only be around for one or two games.
Wright did well enough to help the Braves get the victory, but it was not without its ups and downs, namely 4.1 IP, three hits, two walks, four hit batsmen, two earned runs, and five strikeouts.
Thankfully, the Cubs offense had the lowest team wRC+ (57) in baseball coming into today’s game, and they could only score two runs off of the nine baserunners in the early innings.
There were some bright spots for Wright. He did pitch out of a nice jam in the 2nd, allowing only one run to score. He got a shoutout from Pitching Ninja which is always a plus.
The Braves would pick Wright up in the 3rd thanks to Travis d’Arnaud’s single that would bring Freddie Freeman around to score.
The Braves offense would get to Cubs pitcher Zach Davies in the 4th inning, adding three more runs. Guillermo Heredia would find himself on base due to an injury to Ender Inciarte and then Kyle Wright doubled (!) for his first career hit to bring up Ronald Acuña Jr. with two on.
Acuña put together a beautiful AB where he would take the ball the other way to right field to bring in both Heredia and Wright.
Freddie Freeman would find his way on to make it first and second. That was when the fun began.
Marcell Ozuna hit what looked to be a routine grounder to short for Javy Baez. Baez slipped on the play and had no shot of throwing Ozuna out at first, and it looked like the Braves would have the bases loaded for d’Arnaud. However, that was not the case.
Acuña never quit running and scored from second on a ground ball to the shortstop.
Incredible play. How could anyone not love Ronald Acuña Jr.?
Kyle Wright would give up a home run to Willson Contreras in the 5th inning before being pulled in favor of Grant Dayton.
The bullpen, who has caused some concern in recent games, was brilliant today. Dayton, Sean Newcomb, Josh Tomlin, AJ Minter, and Will Smith combined for 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball to keep the Cubs at two runs.
Smith did make the 9th inning interesting, as he loaded the bases to face Joc Pederson. Thankfully, he struck Pederson out to avoid any damage and secure the Braves sixth win on the year, and second in a row.
Ehire Adrianza added the Braves fifth run of the game by bringing in Ozzie Albies.
Injury Bug Bites Again
The Braves have dealt with a few injuries to start the 2021 season.
Inciarte, who was getting more playing time thanks to Cristian Pache’s injury, appeared to tweak a hamstring while rounding second. He would leave the game and it raised questions of who would replace Inciarte on the major league roster. If Inciarte’s injury is serious enough to warrant an IL stint, the Braves are now down two outfielders.
UPDATE: INCIARTE PLACED ON THE INJURED LIST SATURDAY
Unfortunately, that was not the only injury. Albies was hit by a pitch in the knee/shin area in the ninth that looked to get him pretty good. He tried walking it off before leaving the game, being replaced by Pablo Sandoval.
Hopefully, Albies was removed for precautionary reasons since it was already the ninth inning. We will have to wait to get the actual extent of Albies injury.
Braves win! Make it three tomorrow!
It was a wild experience. Wright could have been sharper, but he was not a complete disaster. The offense finally showed signs of life, which is promising.
I think the team could be on the verge of breaking out of this weird slump they are in. I personally feel like they have been dealing with a lot of bad luck and it could turn at any moment.
There is a 0.045 difference in their wOBA and xwOBA, so the metrics are in their favor to turn it around.
I digress, it is time to enjoy another Braves win! Hopefully, it leads to a few more in the immediate future!
The Braves take on the Cubs Saturday at 2:20 EST. The probable pitching matchup is Huascar Ynoa vs Trevor Williams.