Atlanta Braves unleash the Joctober surprise, win Game 3
It’s still evident that anxiety is running high among the Atlanta Braves, but once again it was a single swing that decisively determined the outcome.
During Friday’s opening game, one rowdy swing derailed an outstanding outing by Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton as his own offense had trouble getting out of its own way.
On Saturday, the Braves employed a modified version of ‘small ball’ — or what passes for that this year — was employed to scrape together enough runs for a 3-0 victory.
In today’s Game 3 — Monday afternoon — the Atlanta attack consisted of one key hit… that hit coming from a likely source:
There had been (quite reasonable) speculation that Joc Pederson would start today’s game as his lifetime OBP against Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta is .500. However, that comes via 4 walks and a single hit (it was, in fact, a single) in 10 plate appearances.
Pederson never saw Peralta today. Instead, he was used as a pinch hitter for Ian Anderson during the bottom of the 5th.
This was a key opportunity in the then-scoreless game as Travis d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson had both singled to open the Braves efforts in that frame.
Brian Snitker made the call: It was time to remove his young starter and insert Joc.
But a home run? Did Brian Snitker really expect that?
Turns out that Brewers reliever Adrian Houser helped out by having Pederson look in the same spot 3 times… for the same type of pitch.
- Pitch #1: Strike looking… 93 mph fastball up
- Pitch #2: Ball — a 94 mph sinker well outside and low… not even interesting.
- Pitch #3: Strike swinging… 94 mph fastball, up and on the outside corner
- Pitch #4: Another fastball… 95 mph and up. This time over the middle of the plate.
Pederson had to adjust his swing, but he did so and tomahawked it … a screaming line drive into the Chop House… all set up by Houser failing to throw Pederson anything different (or at least any competitive pitch that he had to pay attention to).
That instantly made it 3-0 Braves, and the game was effectively over then…
Kinda. But before that point… and afterwards… there were moments that made Brewers fans bite nails.