Braves Comeback Falls Just Short Against the Dodgers

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 20: Drew Smyly #18 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park on May 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - MAY 20: Drew Smyly #18 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park on May 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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The Atlanta Braves head out west to start a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers… the road trip is off to a bumpy start. 

The Atlanta Braves started their seven-game road trip with a visit to Los Angeles for a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves ended their homestand, having managed to take 2 out of 3 from the San Francisco Giants, who currently lead the NL West.

This series opener saw two lefties taking the mound: Drew Smyly for the Braves and Julio Urias for the Dodgers.

So, how did the Braves fare in the first game of this exciting matchup?

Pitching

By looking solely at Smyly’s record, one could assume he is one of the top starters for the Braves this season… but there’s a reason why you don’t just look at pitcher’s records. Smyly was 9-3 on the season before last night’s game and he certainly proved that records are a meaningless stat.

Smyly finished with 4.2 IP, giving up 9 hits, 5 runs, no walks (surprisingly), while tallying 5 strikeouts. Smyly gave up 4 home runs in which the Dodgers collected all 5 of their runs.

It was just one of those games that upon watching Smyly lob pitches down the middle of the plate and seeing Dodgers hitter’s eyes get wide, you just knew it would be a long night.

Smyly would allow a home run in the first to Max Muncy, a home run in the second to Will Smith, then a two-run home run to Mookie Betts in the 3rd as well as a solo home run to Corey Seager in the same inning.

It was pretty rough for Smyly and if he continues to lob 90 MPH fastballs down the middle of the plate, it’s going to continue being this rough… my only worry comes with the thought that Smyly could potentially be given a start in the playoffs (granted the Braves make it there… fingers crossed).

From what I have seen from Smyly this season and this game, in particular, I want him nowhere near a starting role in the playoffs.

Besides an abysmal start from Smyly, the bullpen was tremendous last night!

Jesse Chavez entered in the 5th and continued on in the 6th, finishing with 1.1 IP, giving up no hits, no runs, and striking out 3 Dodgers.

Chris Martin entered in the 7th and finished with 1.0 IP, no hits, no runs, and striking out 1.

Finally, Luke Jackson would enter in the 8th, giving up 1 hit, 1 walk, but most importantly, no runs.

A very successful night for this bullpen and pretty promising as we inch closer to the playoffs.

Offense

Not much to say on this side of the ball…

Yes, the Braves managed to get 8 hits on the night, but only turned it into 3 runs.

These 3 runs were all as a result of solo home runs, which although it is great that the Braves had three separate players hit home runs, it was a bit discouraging that no one could put a couple of hits together to get some momentum going.

Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman would hit back-to-back solo home runs in the 6th off of Urias and in the following inning, Adam Duvall would hit a solo home run off of Phil Bickford.

I view this as somewhat promising. The Braves collected 8 hits, 4 of which came off of Urias, who has been incredible this season.

This offense has the ability to do some damage, but it does seem like sometimes timely hitting is not in the cards. The “live or die by the home run” strategy won’t work forever.

Not saying that this strategy is primarily what the Braves intend to do, but to beat a team like the Dodgers, the Braves will need to not rely on the home run so much… especially if they somehow meet in the playoffs again.

Overall, this game seemed over pretty early on. Thankfully, the bullpen managed to keep the Dodgers in place after Smyly’s exit and give the offense a chance to do something. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t get it all back.

Next. Ozzie Not a Lead Off Man?. dark

The Braves still have two games left in Los Angeles, so here’s hoping they take these next two!