Recap: Braves suffer loss in Arlington as bullpen struggles continue

May 16, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Sean Murphy (12) reacts to striking out
May 16, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Sean Murphy (12) reacts to striking out / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves looked to continue their offensive explosion against the Rangers in Arlington on Tuesday evening. Jared Shuster got the start on the mound as Atlanta still navigates how to cover the absences in their rotation with Max Fried and Kyle Wright out.

Things looked promising early on for the Braves but the Rangers offense decided to show up on Tuesday evening as the Braves bullpen struggles continued to rear its head in the late innings. However, the team didn't go down without a fight and that is something fans should always appreciate with this team.

Dane Dunning took the mound for the Rangers and came into this game sporting a 1.72 ERA. He is currently taking the rotation spot for the injured Jacob deGrom. Dunning had success against Atlanta when pitching against them back on April 30th, 2022. That saw Dunning go 7.2 innings allowing just one run on four hits with seven strikeouts.

Atlanta got off to a good start as the Braves scored first in the second inning thanks to a RBI single from Orlando Arcia. Ozzie Albies scored from second base with his helmet flying as he turned the bag at third. This gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead early on but that's all the offense could muster up in the inning.

Shuster got off to a great start on the mound as he pitched a one-two-three inning to get his night started against the Rangers. He walked his first batter in the bottom of the second but nothing came of that, fortunately. Shuster looked pretty good through three innings of work allowing no hits but issuing two walks. Control has been a pretty big issue for Shuster so far in his career.

Unfortunately, things fell apart in the fourth inning as Texas led off the inning with a line-drive single from former Brave Robbie Grossman who was then driven in on a double by Nathaniel Lowe. This tied things up at one run a piece. That tie wouldn't last long as Adolis Garcia launched a homer to right field and gave Texas a 3-1 lead with no outs in the inning.

Shuster recovered pretty well as he retired the next three batters in order and pitched another one-two-three inning in the bottom of the fifth. Shuster had thrown just 66 pitches up to this point in the ball game. The Braves offense struggled to get anything going after scoring in the second inning. Riley and Rosario hit deep-fly balls in the top of the sixth but the ballpark was able to hold both as we headed to the bottom of the sixth.

Jared Shuster's day was done after five innings pitched allowing three earned runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He was able to lower his ERA to 7.24 from the 8.31 he came into the game with. This definitely was a better performance from Shuster than his first two shots at it earlier in the season.

Dylan Lee checked into the game next and had a pretty decent start to the inning before issuing a walk to Adolis Garcia and allowing a single to Josh Jung to put runners on first and third for Texas. Lee then allowed a single to Jonah Heim which extended the Rangers lead to 4-1.

He was then able to induce a flyout to end the inning there. The Braves bullpen has continued to struggle as they have a 3.83 ERA with 47 walks and 165 strikeouts. in 150.1 innings pitched. So, we definitely need that to improve in the coming months.

Dane Dunning finished his outing against the Braves after six innings pitched and allowed one earned run on six hits with four strikeouts. He seemed to be able to keep the ball out of the zone and limit the damage to that one run. The Braves would have to try and hold the Rangers at their three-run lead and hope for a come-from-behind win.

Dylan Lee was unable to keep Texas from scoring as they would score yet again in the seventh inning. It appeared at first that Leody Taveras was thrown out at home on a single by Marcus Semien but Sean Murphy couldn't hold on to the ball and the fifth run scored.

Texas added yet another run on the next pitch as Robbie Grossman singled to left field. This ended Dylan Lee's night after 1.1 innings allowing three earned runs on six hits with one walk and one strikeout. Lee had a 4.26 ERA coming into Tuesday night's game and that trend of an increasing ERA continued. Joe Jimenez came into the game and was able to induce a double play to end the seventh inning.

However, the Rangers bullpen has been struggling just as the Braves bullpen has. The top of the eighth saw Atlanta begin to fight back as Ronald Acuna Jr blasted a 455 foot homer to center field to lead off the inning. Olson was then hit by a pitch and was driven in on a Sean Murphy homer run that just got over the wall in right field. This brought the Braves back within two runs at 6-4.

Joe Jimenez's job became that much more important in the bottom of the eighth to just hold the Rangers to their two-run lead and give the offense a chance at a win. Jimenez did a good job but with two strikes and two outs in the inning, he allowed a solo homer to Ezequiel Duran that extended the lead to 7-4. He finished his night after 1.2 innings allowing one run on two hits with one strikeout.

Unfortunately, the Braves were unable to get anything going in the top of the ninth as former Braves closer Will Smith sent the 7-8-9 hitters in order to earn the save in Tuesday's loss. These losses are always tough but that's how the game goes. Atlanta will get ready for a rubber match against the Rangers on Wednesday and hope for better results.