The Atlanta Braves had an opportunity to match the franchise's best record for wins in a season but it would take a sweep of the Nationals to do so.
Things looked promising early on Friday evening but the Nats had other plans as they took down Atlanta by a 10-6 final. The best amount of wins the Braves can finish at would be 105.
However, that's the least of the team's worries as they prepare for the MLB playoffs coming up. There are bigger fish to fry at the moment.
Alan Winans started on Friday and he did about as well as expected. He looked good early on with 3 scoreless innings but things unraveled in the 4th inning. The Nationals got back-to-back hits to start the inning followed by a 3-run homer off the bat of Carter Keiboom. Jake Alu then hit a homer giving the Nationals a 4-run inning.
The Braves were leading 2-0 at that point but the 4-run inning gave Washington a 4-2 lead heading into the middle innings. Atlanta stormed back in the 5th inning scoring 4 runs to take a 6-4 lead.
Unfortunately, despite the Braves having 17 hits in the game, it wasn't enough as the Nationals just continued to fight back and drive in runs. They hit two more homers in the 6th inning to take a 7-6 lead over Atlanta. The Braves bullpen just couldn't keep Nationals batters from getting hits. This led to an eventual 10-6 final and game-one loss.
The Braves did get to rest some of their regulars as Michael Harris II didn't start the game and gave Forrest Wall a chance to start. Orlando Arcia gave way to Nicky Lopez to get a day off. Matt Olson and Ronald Acuna Jr. started the game but came out after a couple of at-bats.
While the Braves lost, Ronald Acuna Jr. set another milestone after stealing two more bases during the game. He has 72 on the season now which matches Otis Nixon's record for most in a single season. Nixon was in attendance at the game last night so that's cool that he was able to witness that.
Acuna needs just one more to break the record and I'm sure between the next two games, he will be able to get at least one more stolen base. I expect the Braves to treat the remaining games as Spring Training games. They'll let their regulars start and get a couple of innings in before removing them to allow them to get some rest.
The most important thing now is going into the playoffs as healthy as possible with hopes of making a deep run. Spencer Strider will take his own crack at history as he takes the mound for the final time in 2023. He is seeking his 20th win of the season and the chance to break John Smoltz's strikeout record of 276 punchouts in a single season.