Braves Split Doubleheader: Is Drew Smyly Good Again

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 25: Drew Smyly #18 of the Atlanta Braves delivers the pitch in the first inning of game 2 of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Truist Park on April 25, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 25: Drew Smyly #18 of the Atlanta Braves delivers the pitch in the first inning of game 2 of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Truist Park on April 25, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Following Saturday’s rainout, the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals met up to finish off a four-game series with a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.

Game one of the twin bill gave us a pitching matchup of Bryse Wilson and Adam Wainright, with the Atlanta Braves looking to win their third straight game over St. Louis.

However, the Cardinals wasted little time jumping on Bryse Wilson as Nolan Arenado would end his 0 for 20 slump by driving an 0-1 fastball that tailed back over the plate into the St. Louis bullpen, scoring Tommy Edman.  And with that, the Cardinals had already scored more runs than they had the entire series up to that point, grabbing a quick 2-0 lead.

Wilson would settle down and keep the Braves in the game but would be lifted in the fifth after he ran into some trouble.  The Cardinals led off the inning with a bunt single and a double to put runners on second and third and Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado due up with the Cardinals already leading 3-1.

And into the two-run game to face the most dangerous hitters in the Cardinals lineup would come………Josh Tomlin?  This was a bit of a head-scratching move for a couple of reasons.

First, the Braves starting staff had given them two dominant performances on Thursday and Friday, and with the off-day on Saturday, the bullpen was definitely well-rested.

Secondly, Brian Snitker had stressed the importance of not looking at the upcoming back-to-back doubleheader days as a whole, but taking it one game at a time prior to Sunday’s games.

So the move to bring in Tomlin in a two-run game, in a situation where you needed to miss bats or at the very least get weak contact seemed a bit like Snit waving the white flag in game one.

Tomlin would proceed to give up a three-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt on the very first pitch he threw, allowing the Cardinals to extend the lead to 6-1.  Couple that with the way that Adam Wainwright was pitching and that was more than enough to put this game away for St. Louis.

Watching Tyler Matzek come in and pitch the top of the 7th with the Braves trailing 9-1 further added to my frustration.  Not that Matzek has been untouchable this season, but his stuff is much more likely to produce swings and misses than anything Josh Tomlin has to offer at this point in his career.

By the time this one finished up, the Cardinals had beaten the Braves 9-1 in game one of the doubleheader.

A pair of lefties would toe the rubber in the nightcap as Drew Smyly and Kwang Hyun Kim would look to pitch their teams to a win in the series finale.

Ronald Acuna broke the scoreless tie of this one in the 3rd inning when he saw a breaking ball that he liked and drove it just over the left-center field wall, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead.  The milestone home run was the 100th of Acuna’s career.

Smyly was the story of game two of the twin bill as he carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning.  After getting the first two outs in the sixth, Smyly would give up an infield single to Paul Goldschmidt.  With a slew of righties scheduled to hit next and the no-hit bid over, Smyly would be lifted in favor of Luke Jackson.

Jackson would give up an infield single to Nolan Arenado which would move the tying run into scoring position.  But Jackson would recover by striking out Tyler O’Neill to end the threat.

The Braves would call on Will Smith to get the final three outs of the shortened seven-inning game and he would not disappoint.  Smith got the Cardinals in order to preserve the 1-0 win for the Braves.

The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals split a doubleheader on Sunday, but the Braves took the series, three games to one.

After a rough start to the homestand, the Braves rebounded to finish it with a 3-3 record.

Atlanta heads out on the road to play eight games over the next seven days, as they will play four with the Mets before heading to Cincinnati for four with the Reds.

If the Braves are going to start to make a move in the NL East then the next week and a half would be a great time to do so.  7 of Atlanta’s next 11 games are against the first-place Mets and the Braves will start play tomorrow 5 games back of their divisional rival.

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Hopefully, the Braves pack some of the momentum from this series win in their luggage as they head out on the road, as we continue to wait patiently for this team to play good baseball on a consistent basis.