Friday, May 10

‘Tough collection’ a problem for Braves

ATLANTA — A 3-game dropping streak doesn’t take away all of the momentum the Braves created whereas rolling by the common season’s first three weeks. But such a skid can actually remind you ways shortly even the very best groups will be humbled.  

Kyle Wright surrendered a pair of two-run homers within the sixth inning and the Braves weren’t capable of get better in a 6-3 loss to the Astros on Saturday night time at Truist Park. Atlanta has misplaced three straight video games since claiming an eighth straight win on Tuesday in San Diego.  

“We knew it would be a tough series coming in,” Braves supervisor Brian Snitker mentioned. “It’s been every bit what I expected. That’s for sure.” 

The Braves squandered the four-run first inning they produced in Friday night time’s collection opener. This newest setback was marred by the 2 homers Wright allowed within the sixth, a pair Vaughn Grissom errors and extra futility from Marcell Ozuna.  

Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s loss:

Frustrating conclusion:
Wright was heading towards a second strong begin earlier than permitting two-run dwelling runs to Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker within the sixth inning. The Braves right-hander obtained an anticipated outcome when he hung a curveball that Alvarez hit 414 ft. into the second degree of the restaurant past the proper area wall.  Tucker managed to barrel a curveball that was beneath the strike zone, however in the midst of the plate. 

“It just comes down to I’ve got to finish,” Wright mentioned. “I knew that sixth inning was likely to be my last. So, you’ve got to know when it’s time to empty the tank and find a way to finish. I think I did a poor job of finishing.”  

Wright started the season on the injured checklist as a result of he needed to make up for the time he misplaced in January, when he rested for 3 weeks after getting a cortisone injection in his proper shoulder.  His shoulder has felt nice in every of the three begins he’s made since being activated. His sinker averaged 92.6 mph in his first two begins, and encouragingly rose to 93.2 on this newest outing. 

But he’s nonetheless bought some room for enchancment. This pitch averaged 94.4 mph as he produced MLB’s solely 20-win season final 12 months. 

“There’s not a whole lot of super exciting things about losing for me,” Wright mentioned. “But it was another good step in the right direction. The harder you throw, the harder it is to hit, usually. I just need to continue moving in that direction.”

How lengthy can they stick to Ozuna?
Ozuna was showered with loud boos earlier than every of his three hitless plate appearances on Saturday. The veteran designated hitter is now 4-for-51 with two homers, one double, seven walks and 15 strikeouts. To put this in perspective, Braves outfielder Eddie Rosario was 3-for-44 when it was decided he wanted to endure eye surgical procedure final 12 months.

Ozuna entered this season nonetheless owed roughly $37 million over the ultimate two years of his contract. It made sense for the Braves to offer him yet one more shot this 12 months. He created some cautious encouragement with the .854 OPS he produced in 59 Spring Training plate appearances. But he’s spent this season’s first few weeks exhibiting his .687 OPS final 12 months may not have been a fluke. 

But can the Braves afford to maintain taking part in Ozuna within the meantime? 

“You hope at some point, he’s going to square up a few balls and get on a run,” Snitker mentioned. “We’d like it sooner than later.”

Instant pleasure:
Ronald Acuña Jr. is 13-for-20 with 4 doubles, one homer and 4 stolen bases within the first inning. He recorded two of these steals throughout Saturday’s first inning and added yet one more within the seventh to offer him the primary three-steal recreation of his profession.  

It’s outstanding to assume Acuña has had a leadoff hit in 13 of the Braves’ first 21 video games. But his contributions went for naught as Sean Murphy’s solo homer within the fourth and Ozzie Albies’ two-run homer within the sixth accounted for the Braves’ solely runs. Atlanta has scored in simply three of 27 innings going again to the beginning of Wednesday’s collection finale in San Diego.

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