In the first game back from the All-Star Break, the Atlanta Braves lose a tough game to the Tampa Bay Rays.
It has not been a kind season for the Atlanta Braves.
We knew the second half of the season might be a rough one, especially after the injury to Ronald Acuña Jr. last weekend. However, we were greeted this week by the news that the Braves acquired outfielder Joc Pederson.
Pederson is not a superstar and will not save the season, but it was a move that was probably necessary if the Braves hope to make a run this year. Unfortunately, he was not able to get to the ballpark tonight to be in the starting lineup but was available to pinch-hit.
Time to take a look at how the game played out this Friday night.
Charlie Morton gives a gutsy performance. The bullpen… doesn’t.
Charlie Morton arguably outpitched his line tonight. I know that six innings and three runs is a quality start, but there were times early that it looked like it may get away from Uncle Charlie. He finished the night with six innings, three runs, six hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts.
It could have been worse, but Morton found a way to pitch out of danger and give the offense a chance to win this game.
That is the type of effort a team wants out of their top arms and Morton gave the Braves a shot even on a night where he did not have his best stuff. This type of performance could be enticing to teams at the deadline if the Braves do decide to sell in the coming weeks.
The bullpen could not hang on and ruined Morton’s solid night… never mind losing a game the team sorely needed as the Mets lost to the Pirates.
A.J. Minter started the seventh inning and was shaky, allowing one hit, two walks, and a run in two-thirds of an innings. Luke Jackson relieved Minter, and after hitting the first batter, Jackson found a way out of the inning only throwing three pitches.
The Braves went to the eighth up 6-4 and turned the ball over to Chris Martin who had a shaky outing. In his one inning of work, he allowed four hits that led to two runs that tied the ballgame at six.
Will Smith pitched a perfect ninth inning, but the team could not capitalize, and the game went to extras.
Jesse Chavez pitched the tenth, allowing one hit, one walk, and the runner on second to score with two outs. While it was not an earned run, this gave the Rays a 7-6 lead which was enough as the Braves went away without a fight in the bottom half of the tenth inning.
The offense put up a fight but to no avail
Usually, when a team puts up six runs, one likes a team’s chances of getting the win. Unfortunately for the Braves, that was not the case this evening.
Highlighting the scoring plays from tonight, things got started in the fourth inning by an Austin Riley home run that also scored Ozzie Albies. This was nice to see as Riley had been in a slump over the past few weeks.
Dansby Swanson followed Riley with a home run of his own, giving the Braves a lead of 3-2. Swanson had been playing well before the break, so it was nice to see him carry that over after the layoff.
Orlando Arcia continued his hot start in Atlanta, as he hit an RBI single that would score Freeman, getting the lead back to 6-4. This was the last time the Braves scored.
In the tenth inning, Pederson had a shot but grounded out to end the game. The Braves lost 7-6 and fall to 44-46.
This team has to get going soon or they will fall out of the race. The Braves did make a late roster move, acquiring veteran Stephen Vogt from the Diamondbacks.
Maybe he can add some value to the catcher position that has been a weak spot in the lineup for the majority of the season.
Tomorrow, the Braves will send Max Fried to the mound to face Josh Fleming. Hopefully, Fried can give a strong performance and get them on the board in the second half.