2018: The Birth of a Dynasty
2018 was the first year that the Braves would show the rest of the league that they were on the cusp of becoming one of the best in baseball again. This team had a lot of spirit and personalities throughout the clubhouse.
There are so many memories that stick out when thinking back on this year. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his first home run, the Braves won the NL East for the first time in 5 years, Michael Soroka made his MLB debut, Nick Markakis earned an All-Star selection and so much more.
The Braves clinched their division title against the Phillies that season and get ready for this, Mike Foltynewicz took a no-hitter into the 6th inning of that game. Ronald Acuna Jr. fittingly caught the final out of that game. There was also a lot of drama with the Miami Marlins that year.
Speaking of the Marlins, they are a part of a memory that sticks out most from 2018. The Braves were down 9-4 in the bottom of the ninth and no one could prepare fans for what was about to ensue.
The Marlins sent out Brad Ziegler to close things out and he struck out Dansby Swanson for the first out. He then walked Ryan Flaherty who had checked into the game as a pinch hitter. Flaherty advanced to third on a single by Ozzie Albies and would score on a sacrifice fly by a young Ronald Acuna Jr.
Freddie Freeman legged out an infield single, Albies scored on a bad throw to first, and Markakis singled to score Freeman. Tyron Guerrero checked in to get the last out but he walked Tyler Flowers and allowed an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki.
Both catchers advanced bases on a wild pitch and Johan Camargo walked which brought Dansby Swanson to the plate with the bases loaded. He battled in a 7-pitch at-bat and that 7th pitch ended up being the nail in the coffin... for Miami. Swanson was all over an inside fastball that he hit fair down the third base line to walk things off with a 10-9 final.
This amazing comeback occurred on the 8-year anniversary of Brooks Conrad helping the Braves achieve the same thing against the Cincinnati Reds with his grand slam walk-off at Turner Field.
We cannot move on without mentioning one of the best moments from the 2018 NLDS. Ronald Acuna Jr. owns that moment on his grand slam in the opening game of the NLDS against the Dodgers.
That moment never fails to bring out the goosebumps. The atmosphere inside the ballpark was absolutely palpable.