Braves Preview: Atlanta rides high into two-game set against surging Red Sox
By Chris Turner
After a stressful three-game series with the Orioles that had an October feel to it, the Braves continue their five-game homestand with another AL East opponent coming to Trust Park
Atlanta turns its attention to the Boston Red Sox over the next two nights, a team that looked directionless the opening few weeks of the season before rolling off an eight-game win streak to climb out of last in the division...to fourth. The AL East is really, really good.
Since being swept by the Astros in late April, the Braves have won 10 of their last 12 games, mostly without people like Michael Harris II and Travis d'Arnaud in the lineup. Now, both are back from the IL and Atlanta closer to 100% as a loaded May with more playoff contenders looms on the schedule.
What to Watch for in Tuesday's game
After missing about a month with a concussion he suffered during an early April game against the Padres, d'Arnaud was activated on Monday to rejoin the active roster.
He made three rehab appearances in Triple-A Gwinnett, going hitless in eight at-bats with two walks. d'Arnaud starting at catcher two of three games, while appearing as the designated hitter in the other.
In the corresponding move, Chadwick Tromp was sent back to the Stripers. A good sign how the team feels about d'Arnaud's health and ability to be back behind the plate along with Murphy.
Travis was off to a very hot start in the eight games he's appeared in this year, hitting .333 with five RBIs, with hits in all but two games before he went on the shelf.
Jansen chasing history
An old friend returns to Atlanta after signing with the Red Sox in the offseason, and is on the verge of joining a very elite club of relievers.
Kenley Jansen is sitting at 399 career saves, one away from a pinnacle only six other men in Major League Baseball have reached.
The former Braves closer is off to an incredible start to 2023, with a 0.84 ERA in 10.2 innings, and eight saves in nine chances.
While the Red Sox offense was in the spotlight a lot during their recent win streak, Kenley's performance in 2023 has kept Boston afloat, and will be one of the toughest pitchers Atlanta could face in a close game this year.
Can Charlie quiet the bats?
After getting hit pretty hard in his first two starts, Charlie Morton rebounded with three pretty strong performances.
In starts against the Royals, Padres, and Marlins, Morton posted an ERA under 2.00, allowing only four earned runs and held hitters to a .209 average in those three games.
He got tagged for four earned runs and the loss in his last outing against the Mets.
So far this year, Morton has allowed at least one earned run in each of his six starts, and walked at least two batters. He'll have a tall task to change that against statistically one of the best offenses in baseball in 2023.
Over the last two weeks or so, Masataka Yoshida has been front and center of the 2023 AL rookie class.
The 29-year old struggled out gate in his first few weeks in Major League Baseball, hitting .185 at one point. Since then, he's turned in one of the most, if not the most, impressive hitting streaks of the young season.
Yoshida is currently riding a 16-game hitting streak for the Red Sox. During that time, he's slashing .438/.479/1.229, with five home runs and 18 RBIs. He was just named AL player of the week after continuing his recent tear with a 10-hit week, posting a .476 average.
He's just one part of a very powerful Red Sox offense, but a lot more eyes might be tuned into Tuesday's game to see if Yoshida can continue his red-hot hitting in Atlanta.