And there it is. That’s the team – the devastating, star-studded lineup with October ambitions. And that’s the result that tells you why their hopes are not a pipe dream.

For a while, the game seemed like a repeat of the previous evening. Kevin Pillar made the most of a rare start in left with an RBI double in the second to kick off the scoring, and the torrid Sean Murphy kicked in a solo shot in the fourth. Then the game remained 2-0 until the 8th inning; as wobbly as Blake Snell can often appear, the Braves never hung a crooked number on him. For his part, Spencer Strider was finally himself: unhittable. He went six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, finally yielding a lone single in the sixth. The Padres have now lost six of seven.

Of course, the score didn’t stay there. In the late innings, the offense kicked past insurance runs and took the game into laugher territory, thanks to Earl Weaver‘s favorite play, the three-run homer: Ozzie to straightaway center in the eighth, and Matt Olson with an utter moonshot to right field in the ninth.

The final outs of the game were recorded by Kirby Yates, the former star closer for the Padres – he led the major leagues in saves and finished ninth in the Cy Young vote back in 2019. He hasn’t made a single perfect appearance this year – in every single one of his seven games, he’s given up at least one hit or walk – but last night, he shrugged off a double and struck out his last two men swinging. He’s pitching fine for a middle reliever, even if he’s not a late-inning arm right now. Nick Anderson, who was also excellent in 2019 and has also had a long road back, pitched a forgettable eighth inning, allowing a run on a double and a single, but the run was nearly meaningless thanks to the Albies insurance.

At this point, based on usage, I think Snitker has shown he trusts Anderson. Also based on usage, I think he’s shown he doesn’t yet trust Yates. If Yates can pull out a few clean innings, he might climb higher on the pen depth chart, which would be highly valuable to protecting the health of the other arms back there. The Braves have played 18 games and Jesse Chavez has appeared in 10 of them; A.J. Minter and Dylan Lee have been in 9, Nick Anderson has been in 8, Yates in 7, Joe Jimenez in 6, and Michael Tonkin in 5 (though he typically goes more than an inning, so he gets more rest in between).

Jimenez has been a disappointment in the early going; hopefully, he will recover his velocity and become a key contributor, because he’s been a nonfactor thus far. McHugh will be back soon, which will relieve a lot of the pressure from Jesse Chavez.

Charlie Morton against Nick Martinez today. It’s another afternoon getaway game, as the Braves finally get to enjoy an off-day tomorrow. Nick Martinez is a 32-year old journeyman who has an 11:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the young season. Let’s go get him.