The Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates met for the finale of a four-game set on Sunday, as the Braves looked to win their third straight game and win the series outright from the Pirates.
Max Fried took the mound for the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon looking to continue to build off the momentum he has accrued over his previous starts. Fried has been very well in those starts, having allowed only 3 earned runs over his past 17 innings pitched.
Fried has looked much more like the front-line starter we had grown accustomed to watching last year since coming off the injured list on May 5th.
After a shaky first inning on Sunday, Fried settled down and followed up the shaky first with a very impressive six innings, inducing ground ball after ground ball and giving up only a single run for the fourth start in a row.
The Braves offense would waste little time backing Fried up today, bashing three more home runs, bringing their home run total to 15 over the four-game set with the Pirates.
Austin Riley got the scoring started for the Braves, as the young third basemen hit a three-run home run in the first inning and then raked a high fastball out to right-center in the third, extending the Braves lead to five to one.
Dansby Swanson continued his own hot homestand with a two-run blast in the sixth and the Braves rolled to their third straight victory.
The Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 7-1 on Sunday.
After dropping the series opener on Thursday the Braves rebounded nicely to take the final three games of the series against Pittsburgh…. by a combined score in those games of 33-3.
The month of May has seen both the Atlanta offense and starting pitching really get on track and produce at a rate that Braves fans expected coming out of spring training. And those two things are very encouraging signs.
The bullpen continues to remain an area of concern for Braves fans, and rightfully so.
The reality of the situation is that as long as the Braves stay within striking distance in the NL East Anthopoulos will most likely remain patient, hoping the group he has can figure things out.
But if the Braves start to see their games back number increase in the East then AA may have no choice but to look to make trades to improve this bullpen.
Some good news is that Alex Anthopoulos has a track record of shoring up the bullpen when it has been a problem area since taking over the front office operations in Atlanta.
The Braves bullpen was a dumpster fire in 2018 and Anthopoulos brought in Chris Martin, Shane Greene, and Mark Melancon to solidify it. And to be honest, AA may have to do something similar this year if the Braves pen continues to scuffle.
And Anthopoulos may not have a lot of time to waste. The Braves schedule is about to get considerably tougher as they finish up May and head into June.
Seven of their next eleven series are against teams that are either in first place or ten games over .500.
This includes three series with the NL East-leading Mets, two series with the Red Sox, and an individual series with both the Dodgers and Cardinals.
At this point, not much is certain about where this season is heading. But one thing that is very clear is that we should have a much better idea if this Braves team is a true world series contender or not by the time that June comes to an end.