The Braves crushed the Royals 10-3, behind a five homer attack. Almost as importantly (at least to my emotional state), the Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Blue Jays. More on the latter in a moment.
I wasn’t able to watch much of the Braves game, as we have traveled to a family wedding and had dinner with relatives.During that dinner, I did sneak a few peaks at the MLB app on my phone. I hope I wasn’t too obvious, but I suspect my dinner companions may have been curious why I seemed so chipper. A seven to one lead after two innings set the tone for the game and my mood during dinner.
In fact, it was 3-0 within minutes of the first pitch: single by Ronald Acuña Jr. followed by Matt Olson and Austin Riley going back to back. Sam Hilliard hit a solo homer in the second, Sean Murphy the same in the fifth, and Ronald clubbed a two run shot in the sixth. You want to feel good about this Braves offense? Check out the OPS of these five consecutive hitters in last night’s lineup: 1.073; 1.056; 1.070; .967; .982. That is spots 9, 1, 2 ,3, and 4 in the lineup—Hilliard, Acuña, Olson, Riley, and Murphy.
Charlie Morton pitched a serviceable six innings and got the win, giving up 3 runs, two of which were earned. He’s now 2-1 and leads the team in victories. I offer that stat for those of you who are missing Chip.
Back to the Rays and their 13-0, now 13-1, start. Some of you remember the 1982 season which featured the Braves winning their first 13. Since the Rays lost last night, the Braves remained tied for the all time record for season opening win streak. Thanks to their 13-0 start that year, that team was one of only two division winners in the first 25 years of their tenure in Atlanta. Truth is, the 1982 team wasn’t especially good. They finished with 89 wins, but apart from the first 13, they were only four games over .500 for the season. They may not have been a great team, but they were one of the streakiest. They lost 19 of 21 during August to fall out of first, but came roaring back to win 13 of 15 to retake the lead, fell behind by 3 games after losing 7 of 9, but clinched the pennant in the final week with a 7-2 stretch. Whew! That was a wild ride on the roller coaster and the most compelling season of the first quarter century in Atlanta. But it also taught me not to get too wrapped up in short term results, either good or bad.
The Braves are off to a 10-4 start, while going without their number 1 and 3 starters, their closer and top right handed set up guy, their ROY center fielder, and various other folks for all or most of the young season. So far so good. But there are still 148 games to play. I’m not drawing any conclusions about the season yet. With one exception: Ronald appears to be healthy and back to his pre-injury self. That makes him one the best and most exciting players in the game.
Bryce Elder goes for his second win this afternoon and will attempt to keep his ERA at zero.