Oooookay. So THAT’S why Atlanta wanted Kevin Gausman. Anyone still miss Matt Wisler and those other three guys, Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe?
The Braves jumped on Brewer starter Freddy Peralta early. In the bottom of the 1st Ozzie Albies walked, (No really, he didn’t swing at at least four pitches!), and with two outs Nick Markakis doubled him home. Johan Camargo followed that up with a little flare just over third, plating Kakes and allowing Johan to take second for back-to-back doubles. Ender Inciarte got in on the fun by singling Camargo home, and just like that, it was 3-0 for the Good Side.
Gausman was pitching exclusively from the stretch for the entire game, and apparently he liked that adjustment. The Brewers weren’t making good contact (mostly), and the Braves hurler was really pounding the strike zone. He did give up a few hits here and there, including two singles in the bottom of the 2nd, but he didn’t walk anyone. Which is a recipe for success in most leagues. I would also imagine that being staked to an early three run lead in your home debut would also help calm the butterflies as well.
After the second single by Manny Pina, the Brewers’ catcher, Gausman settled in and retired the next twelve Milwaukee hitters before allowing the only run in the bottom of the sixth, a two out double to Mike Moustakas, follwed by an RBI single by Jesus Aguilar. But by that time, the Braves lead had swelled to 7 runs, so that was nothing to be concerned about.
How did we get here? (Cue Talking Heads video…)
In the bottom of the 3rd, Markakis, Camargo, and Inciarte struck again. With one out Kakes walked and Camargo and Ender doubled up, with Ender’s double scoring both Nick and Johan for a 5-0 lead. Atlanta added on in the 4th when Ronald Acuna, Jr. lead off with a single and Albies walked, (No, really, he didn’t swing at at least four eight pitches!) and Freddie Freeman singled in Acuna, with Ozzie taking third. Markakis drove in the seventh Braves run with a sac fly.
After the aforementioned Brewer tally in the sixth, Atlanta responded in the bottom of the frame. Acuna led off with another single. Ozzie struck out. But Freddie walked, Nick doubled the RAJA home, Camargo singled in FF5, and Ender drove in Neck with a run scoring groundout for his 4th RBI on the night. 10-1 Braves.
There wasn’t any real drama afterwards. Just how deep would Gausman pitch into the game, and how many more pitches would Ozzie not swing at. The second question was answered in the bottom of the 7th when Ozzie walked for the third time. (No really! He didn’t swing at at least foureight twelve pitches!) The first was answered an inning later when KG pitched the 8th and finished the night with 8 IP, 1 run, 6 hits, no walks, and 8 strikeouts. Of his 94 pitches, 71 were strikes – not a bad ratio. That’ll do. That will most definitely do.
Chad Sobotka came in to make his major league debut in the 9th, and tossed a 1-2-3 frame. Sobotka is 6’7″, and throws 99mph and was really bringing it. So, good for him and I hope he can add one more power arm to the pen for the stretch run, but he just might be prone to fits of wildness based on all the moving parts of his delivery. But, let’s see – 99 and walking a few batters here and there might be acceptable for a mop up guy pitching with a nine run lead or deficit.
Anyhoo, with San Diego taking care of the Phightin’s late last night, the Bravos are now tied for first in the NL East. And Julio Teheran toes the rubber against Wade Miley. We should be due for a good Julio start anytime now, so let’s see what happens.