It is every baseball fan’s favorite day of the year, OPENING DAY. The Braves came into opening day with a chip on their shoulders and feeling like they are still being doubted. Us fans know the team has holes, but when everything clicks, this is a dangerous ball club. We saw a little bit of it all on during Thursday’s 10-4 loss to the Phillies.
Julio Teheran looked pretty good during his 5 innings of work. He recorded 7 strikeouts over 5 innings and gave up 3 earned runs, although you could argue that two of those runs should have never happened. His fastball was sitting around 92, which is a good sign considering we saw it around 89-90 consistently last season. His slider was flat out filthy today, and if he has that thing working, he is tough to hit.
Newly acquired Matt Joyce hit a 2 run pinch hit bomb in the 7th. obviously just small sample size, and there is no telling how long he will be on the roster, but if he can provide the pop off the bench that we thought Duvall would last season, it will be huge.
Acuna’s plate discipline was great as he drew two walks. Freeman swung the bat well, and Nick Markakis drove in a run early on Nola.
There was a lot of bad. I will start with wild pitches/passed balls that sparked that 4th inning rally for the Phillies. Julio seemingly lost a little bit of control that inning after the throwing error on Dansby started things off (although we have seen Freddie pick that same ball in the dirt plenty of times).
Freddie Freeman trying to steal second with Acuna up while trailing by 2 was not a bright idea. I don’t know if it was Snit’s idea or Freeman thought he had Nola timed, but when you have a hitter like Acuna up and representing the tying run, your best bet is to let Acuna do his thing and not try to swipe a bag, especially with Freddie’s speed.
Inciarte just didn’t seem like he was seeing the ball well. 0-4 with 3 backwards Ks is not what you want from your leadoff hitter. It is just one game and Ender will for sure bounce back, but the Braves 1 and 2 hole hitters combined for 0-7 with a BB and 4Ks. Again, no need to panic, it is just one game.
The Bullpen… Parsons and Fried looked good but this unit as a whole needs help, and it is one of the holes I referred too at the top. We saw a throwing error, 7 runs coming on two homeruns, and 4 walks in 3 innings of work for the bullpen. That is just downright ugly.
Yes, keep the cries for Kimbrel coming. Keep them coming until there is some sort of move made to bolster this bullpen. Even when Darren O’Day and AJ Minter are back, this bullpen still needs some stability from somewhere.
All in all, it is just one game. We all knew the bullpen was suspect coming into this season, but moves will be made going forward in this department. The bats didn’t look bad at all against some tough pitching today.
Hopefully we see a better result on Saturday. Go Braves!
By: Bret Anderson