Atlanta Braves: don’t underestimate the value of the shiny new things

Atlanta Braves outfielder Adam Duvall shares a high five with outfielder Jorge Soler. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves outfielder Adam Duvall shares a high five with outfielder Jorge Soler. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Atlanta Braves are in the unique position of effectively extending the trade deadline season over a six-week period.  That will continue to pay dividends for them.

Commentators on the game, former players, and even psychologists all echo the same thing:  there’s just something special about seeing a new friend walk into the room for the first time.  Our Atlanta Braves are experiencing that feeling a lot this Summer.

It didn’t start well, though; that much is certain.  Seeing Ronald Acuna Jr. leave the clubhouse — probably in a wheelchair, if not crutches — was like a dagger to their souls.

But then… the changes started.

  • Joc Pederson was activated on July 16
  • Stephen Vogt was inserted into the lineup on July 18… and went 3 for 4, scoring twice (though the bullpen faltered late)
  • Adam Duvall was traded to the Braves around noon on July 30 and somehow managed to get himself to Atlanta and into the starting lineup on the same day (1 for 4 with an RBI).
  • The next day, Jorge Soler arrived and went 3 for 4 — scoring once and knocking in a run.
  • Richard Rodriguez came in with him, pitching a scoreless inning.
  • The newest “arrival” so far is Travis d’Arnaud, activated on the 11th and played all 11 innings as the Braves beat the Reds.

Atlanta hasn’t won all of these “debut games”, but since Pederson’s first appearance on July 16, a club that couldn’t broach the .500 mark has gone 16-11, including an 8-2 run over their last 10 games now that most of the new additions are fully in the mix.

And yet there’s more

Christmas just continues to be extended.  Within the next week or so, we can expect three more players:

  • Huascar Ynoa:  made his 2nd AAA start on the 11th; will get another one before returning (Tuesday or Wednesday).  WE HAVE AN UPDATE:
  • Ian Anderson:   also made his 2nd AAA start on the 11th, so his next start will probably happen on Tuesday now that Ynoa is heading for Miami.  depend on the order imposed by the team between he and Ynoa.  There’s a chance that he gets once more start in the minors after that.
  • Eddie Rosario.  Notably, he beat out an infield hit with full-on hustle during a AAA game on Thursday and then played again on Friday night.  While his stroke isn’t back yet, his abdominal strain appears to be holding up well… expect him to join the team once he starts hitting.

So sure:  over the long term, it’s all about the talent of these individuals and how they can contribute to the Atlanta Braves that matters.

There is, however, that extra boost in spirits when somebody walks in that you haven’t seen… or haven’t seen in a while… that brightens a clubhouse.  That’s particularly true when the Summer is starting to drag a bit and the pressure of a 162-game season starts to weigh on everyone.

It’s like when Norm arrived each week at the Cheers bar in Boston.  It’s like when you get the notification that a certain expected package has arrived in your mailbox.  It’s like a movie premiere event when the stars first appear on the red carpet.

It’s about anticipation.  It’s about the newness.  It’s about the assurance that “things are about to get better.”

Next. All right, so this is clever.. dark

For our Atlanta Braves, that’s happening with regularity… and for another couple of weeks, it will still continue to happen.  So it’s time to win.