In the final game of the series with the Dodgers, the Braves won in dramatic fashion with a grand slam from Rafael Ortega, clinching the series win in the process. In a series where this team needed to make a statement, the Braves had their statement series.
After the opening game of the series, when the Braves lost 8-3, things didn’t look good for the Atlanta Braves. The Braves had their ace on the mound, Mike Soroka, who pitched an incredible game and lost. The bullpen would go on to give up the lead in the first game of the series, a familiar scene for Braves fans this season. After the loss, things could have gone sideways for the Braves in this series. This team had other ideas.
Mike Foltynewicz was on the mound for the second game. After getting a late start to the season with an injury and bouncing up and down from the minors back up because of performance issues, this season has been difficult for Folty to say the least. In Saturday’s game, against a stacked Dodgers lineup, Folty gave it his all. Folty’s line won’t look pretty or be memorable, 4.2 innings with 7 hits and 2 earned runs. Folty was very impressive in a game that won’t be remembered for much else. The bullpen, a night after getting hit hard, came up huge in the second game. Shane Greene had a perfect inning, striking out three. Mark Melancon recorded the save.
The rubber game is being overshadowed by Brian Snitker’s decision to pull Ronald Acuna Jr. from the game for not running out a single. This was an old-timer manager pulling the 21-year-old kid for not hustling. It’s going to happen. Hopefully, this happening will light a fire under Acuna so it doesn’t happen again. Snitker’s decision should not overshadow what was an incredible performance by Max Fried and this Braves bullpen.
Things got off to a rocky start for Max Fried in the first inning of Sunday’s game. With two on, Cody Bellinger launched a deep fly ball the center that Ronald Acuna had his glove on but couldn’t hold on as he came down on the fence. It could have been a highlight-reel play for Acuna, but it ended up being a three-run home run for Bellinger. Fried would go on to get hit more and more, 8 hits by the end of his five innings today, but wouldn’t give up any more runs after the three runs from the first inning.
Anthony Swarzak, Chris Martin, Shane Greene, and Mark Melancon should all be shouted out for their performance on Sunday. Four guys the Braves did not have on their Opening Day roster but are making the difference in huge games down the stretch for the Braves. Swarzak continues to perform well, while Chris Martin settles into his role with the Braves more and more after every appearance. Shane Greene had another perfect inning, no hits, and no runs. Mark Melancon recorded another save on Sunday, his second against the Dodgers in consecutive days.
With the win on Sunday, the Braves take the series from the Dodgers. The Dodgers, however, can claim regular-season supremacy, taking the six-games with the Braves 4-2. Braves and Dodgers fans know these two teams aren’t concerned with regular-season records. It’s all about the playoffs. The Braves didn’t want to be meeting the Dodgers in October after being battered in the regular season. Now, the won’t have to. This weekend proved the Braves can play with this Dodgers team now, or in October.