The Atlanta Braves bounced back from a disappointing loss Saturday night to beat the Nationals 5-4 on Sunday.
After the disheartening way that Saturday’s game ended, it was extremely important that the Atlanta Braves came out on Sunday and regained some of the momentum that they had built up during their recent four-game winning steak.
And as the old saying goes, in baseball, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.
Luckily for the Braves, that pitcher was Max Fried.
Fried wasn’t at his best on Sunday, but he battled, giving up only one run. Max was able to navigate around one walk and seven Washington hits in his six innings of work.
The Braves offense plated five runs in support of Fried as both Ozzie Albies and Adam Duvall hit two-run home runs and Austin Riley added a run-scoring double as well, giving the Braves a 5-1 through six innings.
The Atlanta bullpen employed a bend but don’t break philosophy as the Nationals made it interesting, scoring twice in the seventh and once in the ninth before Chris Martin was able to get the final out on a Josh Bell groundout, stranding the tying run at second.
The Atlanta Braves moved into second place in the NL East with their 5-4 win over the Nationals on Sunday.
If someone had told me in April that the Braves would be rolling out a starting lineup on August 8th that would be without Ronald Acuna, Jr, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and Travis d’Arnaud, I would have been very concerned about where the Braves were in the standings.
And while this season has been exceedingly frustrating at times, the Braves are set up to make a run in the final two months of the season. In fact, the Braves are one poorly placed Will Smith fastball away from being in the midst of a season-best six-game winning streak right now.
The lineup has been considerably lengthened and the bench deepened with the trade deadline acquisitions, and it is just going to get better as Eddie Rosario and Travis d’Arnaud should be completing rehab assignments and joining the big league club soon.
The much-maligned bullpen has been very good as of late.
The addition of Richard Rodriguez has added an arm that Brian Snitker can trust in late-inning and/or high-leverage situations.
Tyler Matzek has seemingly regained confidence in his stuff and is pounding the strike zone on a consistent basis, much as he did in 2020 when he was extremely hard to hit.
Despite a rough outing today, Jesse Chavez has been a pleasant surprise, effectively helping to bridge the gap in the middle innings between the starters and the late-inning relievers.
In short, the things that have plagued the Braves for most of this season have been addressed, and may just be in the rearview mirror for this team.
The Braves, Mets, and Phillies will all have an off day on Monday before all three start a home series on Tuesday.
The Braves will welcome in the scorching hot Cincinnati Reds who have won five in a row and 10 of their last twelve.
Philadelphia hosts the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Mets will tangle with NL East rivals, the Washington Nationals.
No matter how it all shakes out, the next two months should include a lot of exciting baseball games, scoreboard watching, and hopefully a fourth straight division title for the Atlanta Braves.