The last three years, the Braves were not much fun to watch. In fact, it could be a desultory experience. Ah, but they were so much older then (Bartolo, Dickey, Kemp, AJ); they’re younger than that now (Ozzie, Acuña, Soroka, Gohara–more on him later) And it’s contagious: I’m no spring chicken, but this team is helping me stay forever young.
It was a one to one game going into the 6th inning. There was really no hint that a hard rain of Braves hits was gonna fall. On the other hand, perhaps we should have seen it coming: the top of the order has become desolation row for opposing pitchers. Ozzie came to the plate with 2 outs and the bases loaded in a tie game. With one swing of the bat, he put the Braves up 5-1. Two batters later, Freddie hits a two run homer, and the rout was on.
At that point in the game, Folty had gone 5 pretty effective innings, throwing only 83 pitches. The only run he surrendered was unearned. Snit made the tough call to pinch hit in the top of the sixth with two on and two out—turned out to be a good call. Tucker walked to load the bases, and Albies followed with his first career grand slam. (By the way, April heroes Tucker and Flaherty are still on the team—hadn’t seen them lately. Both made appearances, and both did something good.)
Freddie had the first five hit game of his careers, including the 2 run homer. He’s still the hub of this team, and this wheel’s on fire. He’s our rock; let’s hope he continues like a rolling stone. But it was Ozzie’s blow that changed the game. This kid has been phenomenal. He’s the youngest Brave to hit a grand slam since Andruw did it at age 20 in 1997. Let’s hope that Carribean wind still blows, from Curacao to the Atlanta Bravos.
Speaking of forever young, Neck Cakes had two more hits. I can’t believe him; he acts like a player we never have met.
This game saw the first 2018 appearance by Luiz Gohara. It was not exactly the ballad of a thin man—but he pitched three innings and got his first professional save.
It was good to see our old friend Martin Prado, who had two hits in the game to raise his average to .152. He’s quite the jokerman; it had been going so bad for him that after his first hit he had the ball retrieved and thrown to the dugout. The current version of Prado, young Camargo, had two hits of his own to break a long drought.
How excited should we be about this team? No doubt the times they are a changing—something new is blowin in the wind. In fact, I’m starting to think that when fall rolls around, this team could be knockin’ on heaven’s door. Yes, I know it’s still very early and there is a long season ahead of us; tomorrow is a long time. But sooner or later, one of us must know if this team is for real. As for me and my household, we are obviously five believers.
Tomorrow, the Braves try to hold on to first place again in Miami. Amanda’s husband takes the mound.