Atlanta Braves can’t solve Urias in weekend opener

Freddie Freeman is given his 2021 World Series Champion ring by Manager Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Freddie Freeman is given his 2021 World Series Champion ring by Manager Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Getting a couple of Atlanta Braves a day off was supposed to help refresh and refocus them for this weekend’s task against the Dodgers.  That didn’t really help.

A combination of events Friday night did not help the Atlanta Braves, despite an earlier positive vibe from taking 3 of 4 from the Giants.

Ian Anderson had multiple Jekyll/Hyde innings, Freddie Freeman was playing meet-and-greet to everyone he came in contact with, and the offense simply didn’t have any kind of consistent answer for Julio Urias.

Urias (5-6, 2.48) dazzled the Braves’ hitters all night — or at least through 6 innings — despite looking as if he might melt into a puddle at any moment.  He yielded just three hits… and one of those barely left the batter’s box.

When the Braves did get a decent swing on the ball coming from Urias, the result was — more often than not — a ball hit right at a fielder:

  • Acuna, 3rd inning:  103.7 mph exit velocity; lineout
  • Contreras, 5th inning:  103.4 mph; groundout
  • Arcia, 5th inning: 97.0 mph, lineout

Only Matt Olson‘s ground-rule double in the 2nd inning (108.5 mph) managed to find unguarded grass among the ‘hard hit’ balls.

Alas, he was left stranded at second base despite three teammates following him to the plate.

Atlanta finally managed its lone tally in the 6th when Acuna reached on the first of two hits that — combined — did not even add up to 20 feet.

Swanson then dumped a blooper down the right-field line that nearly turned into a double play, except that newly-acquired Trayce Thompson had the ball bounce out of his glove.  Acuna, selling out on the expectation of a hit, ended up at third.

A walk to Austin Riley loaded the bases with 1 out and the hope for a big inning was brewing.  Matt Olson brought in Acuna with a sacrifice fly, but Marcell Ozuna struck out to end the only real threat posed by the offense all night.

Ian’s woes: early and late

Ian Anderson gave up two runs quickly on 2 walks, 2 singles, and a sacrifice fly.  It could have been a lot worse. The second inning was much the same except for the walks, which allowed Anderson to escape with no further damage.

The Dodgers seemed to know exactly how to attack Anderson, yet he settled in almost immediately afterward and retired 8 hitters in a row between the end of the 2nd through the 4th inning.

It was that 5th, though, that was Anderson’s final undoing:  Trea Turner (of course) homered.  Freddie Freeman walked (of course).  Will Smith doubled, Max Muncy walked, and that marked the end of Anderson’s night.

He was charged with 4 runs and falls to a 6-4 record with a 4.60 ERA.  Perhaps most disturbing is on the updated stat line is a WHIP of 1.45.  Compare that to Urias’ 1.01.

Colin McHugh entered and pitched brilliantly for 3 innings, allowing just one inherited runner to score and 2 inconsequential hits later on, but the damage was done since the Braves’ offense was unable to do much of anything.

For those keeping score…

  • Freeman:  1 for 3 (single), 2 runs scored, 2 walks
  • Olson:  2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly RBI.

The Mets beat Miami to regain the game they had lost on Wednesday.  Their lead is now 5 over Atlanta.

Next. He's back..... dark

Tonight’s contest begins at 7:15 on the “Big Fox” network with Mitch White going up against Max Fried.