Braves remind Phillies who is the real class of the NL East with offensive explosion

What an excellent start for the Atlanta Braves as they throttle the Phillies on Opening Day.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Braves squared off with the Phillies for the first contest of the year and it was a close game per usual. Both teams play each other very tough. Atlanta wanted to find a way to start the season with a win after losing to the Phillies in the 2023 NLDS.

Spencer Strider's first start of the 2024 season didn't end the way he'd hoped it would. Through the first 4.2 innings of the game, Atlanta's ace looked unhittable as he had struck out seven Phillies and allowed just two hits.

That changed thanks to a two-out, two-strike home run off the bat of Phillies outfielder Brandon Marsh. His homer sailed through the blustery winds at Citizens Bank Park to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead. Strider completed the inning, allowing no more damage with 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 8 K.

Fortunately for Spencer, the Braves picked him up in the top of the seventh inning. Michael Harris II led off with a single and was followed by Orlando Arcia. The Braves shortstop crushed a ball to left field that looked like a homer but the wind knocked it down and it bounced off of Brandon Marsh who misjudged the baseball.

Brian Snitker played the matchup with a lefty on the mound, sending Adam Duvall to the plate as he reminded Braves fans why they should love him. Duvy blistered a ball down the left-field line to score Harris and Arcia, tying the game at two apiece. Atlanta's plans to platoon Duvall and Kelenic is already paying dividends.

Atlanta did, unfortunately, lose catcher Sean Murphy in the seventh inning after an awkward swing. It was later revealed that Murphy was diagnosed with tightness in his left oblique. Sean will be placed on the injured list while he heals from this.

The Braves decided it was time to show the Phillies why they have won the NL East for the last six seasons. They are the class of the division because they get hits in big situations. Atlanta sent 11 batters to the plate in the 8th inning, reminding their bitter rival who the better team is.

Matt Olson, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, kicked things off with his second double of the game. Ozuna hit a ball to deep right field that allowed Matt to advance to third and he would score on a bouncing single up the middle by Michael Harris II.

d'Arnaud walked in the next at-bat and followed by Orlando Arcia who unfortunately struck out for the second out of the inning. Adam Duvall came to the plate next and walked to load the bases. Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. drove in Atlanta's fourth run of the game on a 2-1 count, chasing Alvarado from the game. The fifth run came on a wild pitch by Connor Brogdon that allowed TDA to score.

Albies walked to load the bases again and was followed by an RBI walk from Austin Riley which led to the knockout punch by the birthday boy, Matt Olson. Olson showed his ability to hit to all fields with a 3-run double into the right-field corner to give Atlanta a 9-2 lead.

That double was history for Matt Olson as he is only the second Braves player to have 3 extra-base hits on Opening Day since Andy Pafko did so in 1954 when the franchise was in Milwaukee. Shoutout to the stat queen, Sarah Langs, for always providing the most interesting stats.

The Braves bullpen only allowed one run and that came in the bottom of the ninth off of Aaron Bummer. Otherwise, the Braves bullpen was incredibly sound, racking up seven combined strikeouts. That amounts to 15 strikeouts total for the Braves pitching staff which is the most strikeouts ever by a Braves staff on Opening Day.

It didn't look pretty early on but the Atlanta Braves reminded Philadelphia why they are at the top of the National League. It's easy to forget how quickly this Atlanta Braves team can jump on opposing pitching. Things changed in the blink of an eye.

Max Fried makes his 2024 debut on Saturday at 4:05 PM EST in Philly and will oppose Aaron Nola. Hopefully, the Braves offense will treat fans to more excitement this weekend and continue reminding the Phillies who the top dog is.

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