Braves Preview: Atlanta going for two-game sweep of Red Sox
By Chris Turner
There's just something different about this Atlanta Braves team, and that's very obvious through about one-fifth of the 2023 season.
With the win last night against the Boston Red Sox, Atlanta tied a franchise record for fewest games needed to reach 25 wins, joining the 1998 Braves with that milestone. Everything is clicking at the right time for the Braves, with a May schedule featuring plenty of teams who will vying for playoff spots come September.
Atlanta is looking to complete a two-game sweep of Boston, and win its fourth game in a row on Wednesday night.
What to Watch for in Wednesday's game
MVP frontrunners keep mashing
Among the Braves bats who are carrying the load, two specifically stick out amongst the crowd.
Ronald Acuña Jr. and Sean Murphy are standing at or near the top of the NL wins above replacement (WAR) leaderboards. Acuña is slashing .313/.425/1.018 since the beginning of the month, Murphy is hitting an astonishing .414 in May! He's already up to nine home runs in 2023, half of what he hit in all of 2023 alone.
The race right now between the two is for NL Player of the Month, but this could be your top two candidates for MVP when November rolls around.
Bullpen game to save the day
Charlie Morton came through in a big way in Tuesday's win, going six innings and saving a lot of arms for Wednesday's contest. Kirby Yates, AJ Minter, and Danny Young each threw an inning to close the door on Boston for the win.
With Max Fried and Kyle Wright both on the injured list, manager Brian Snitker's options to fill the rotation are limited, opting to go with a bullpen game to close out the two-game set.
The good news is the Braves bullpen is pretty well-rested after the lopsided Tuesday night win and off day on Monday.
-Joe Jimenez: Four days rest
-Nick Anderson: Three days rest
-Collin McHugh: Two days rest
-Dylan Lee: Two days rest
-Jesse Chavez: Two days rest
-Raisel Iglesias: Two days rest
-Micheal Tonkin: Two days rest
As of post time, a starter has yet to be announced for Atlanta, but Snitker will have plenty of available arms to choose from.
Score early, score often
The Braves were able to get to Nick Pivetta early in Tuesday's night win, scoring four first inning runs to jump ahead quick against the Red Sox.
According to Baseball Reference, Atlanta is hitting .308 the first time through the order against starting pitchers. That number drops to .282 the second time through, and .272 the third time. Obviously, still very good numbers any team would love to have.
Boston starter Brayan Bello has never faced the Braves in his carer. If Atlanta can jump out to an early lead and keep the pressure up, he'll be heading back to the dugout early.