Braves can’t back dominant Sale in 2-1 loss

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals
Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Chris Sale was fantastic, but the Braves couldn’t find the hits they needed to come out on top on Friday

In the series opener, the Braves were able to rally late for a 5-2 win. On Friday, try as they might, they never found anything resembling a big hit, taking a 2-1 loss despite Chris Sale’s dominant outing.

For anyone that was worried about Sale after his blow-up against the Athletics last weekend, this game probably went down relatively smoothly, as Sale was great. He finished the outing with seven innings of ten strikeout, one walk ball, essentially returning to the warpath. The two runs that scored against him both came in the fourth, and as befit the fact that he was largely dominating batters, weren’t exactly clobbered. C.J. Abrams led off that inning with a roller down the left-field line for a double. After a groundout, Sale issued his lone walk of the night. The Nationals then sent the runners, and catcher Sean Murphy threw to second, where the ball short-hopped second baseman Ozzie Albies and bounced off his glove and behind him, allowing Abrams to score. After a strikeout, Ildemaro Vargas hit a routine grounder that’s usually an out, except that it was hit away from where the Braves were shading him, and rolled into the outfield to make it a 2-0 game.

That was all that Sale really allowed, and Pierce Johnson finished up the pitching slate with a scoreless inning of his own. Sale even worked out of a leadoff triple situation in the sixth, getting two groundouts to a drawn-in infield and a lineout to left field.

But, it was all to little avail, because the Braves just couldn’t push enough runs across to make up for that 2-0 hole. Jake Irvin, who dominated the Braves in Atlanta earlier, didn’t pitch particularly well this time around, but it was good enough. He finished with a 4/2 K/BB ratio in six innings, but the Braves hit a bunch of pop-ups and weak grounders that stymied their efforts to make a game of it. In the third, J.P. Martinez, making his first start as a Brave, hit a two-out double on a flare to left. Irvin then walked Michael Harris II and Austin Riley, bringing up Marcell Ozuna with the bases loaded. Ozuna absolutely crushed an elevated sinker from Irvin, but he didn’t elevate it enough and also hit it right at Abrams for an inning-ending groundout.

In the fifth, after the Nationals pulled ahead, Orlando Arcia got things started with a leadoff double. Murphy “moved” him to third with a groundout, but then Martinez and Harris both popped out. Welp. In the sixth, Riley knocked a leadoff liner single off Irvin, and Ozuna followed with a bizarre lofted fly ball that got massively aided by the wind, which pushed it into a carom off the right-field wall. Since Riley had to hold up with none out, all he could do was make it to third. Matt Olson then fouled out, Ozzie Albies grounded out back to Irvin, and Adam Duvall flew out. Double welp.

The Braves got nothing off Derek Law after chasing Irvin in the seventh. In the eighth, Ozuna hit a barrel with two outs that was misplayed by Jacob Young in center. Olson didn’t fail this time, driving him in with a hard single, but it ended up too little, too late, as Albies grounded out.

In the ninth, the Braves had a brief glimmer of hope as Adam Duvall reached on a strikeout against Washington closer Kyle Finnegan. But, Orlando Arcia hit a bouncer to third that became a 5-4-3 double play, and Sean Murphy went down on three straight fastballs to end it.

The Braves drop to 35-26, and now appear to be mired in a pattern where they’ll hit some homers in one game and then really struggle to barrel the ball in the next. Maybe they’ll more consistently hit the ball well for the rest of the series, but we’ll have to see.

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Title: Braves can’t back dominant Sale in 2-1 loss
Author: Ivan the Great

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Braves can’t back dominant Sale in 2-1 loss

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals
Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Chris Sale was fantastic, but the Braves couldn’t find the hits they needed to come out on top on Friday

In the series opener, the Braves were able to rally late for a 5-2 win. On Friday, try as they might, they never found anything resembling a big hit, taking a 2-1 loss despite Chris Sale’s dominant outing.

For anyone that was worried about Sale after his blow-up against the Athletics last weekend, this game probably went down relatively smoothly, as Sale was great. He finished the outing with seven innings of ten strikeout, one walk ball, essentially returning to the warpath. The two runs that scored against him both came in the fourth, and as befit the fact that he was largely dominating batters, weren’t exactly clobbered. C.J. Abrams led off that inning with a roller down the left-field line for a double. After a groundout, Sale issued his lone walk of the night. The Nationals then sent the runners, and catcher Sean Murphy threw to second, where the ball short-hopped second baseman Ozzie Albies and bounced off his glove and behind him, allowing Abrams to score. After a strikeout, Ildemaro Vargas hit a routine grounder that’s usually an out, except that it was hit away from where the Braves were shading him, and rolled into the outfield to make it a 2-0 game.

That was all that Sale really allowed, and Pierce Johnson finished up the pitching slate with a scoreless inning of his own. Sale even worked out of a leadoff triple situation in the sixth, getting two groundouts to a drawn-in infield and a lineout to left field.

But, it was all to little avail, because the Braves just couldn’t push enough runs across to make up for that 2-0 hole. Jake Irvin, who dominated the Braves in Atlanta earlier, didn’t pitch particularly well this time around, but it was good enough. He finished with a 4/2 K/BB ratio in six innings, but the Braves hit a bunch of pop-ups and weak grounders that stymied their efforts to make a game of it. In the third, J.P. Martinez, making his first start as a Brave, hit a two-out double on a flare to left. Irvin then walked Michael Harris II and Austin Riley, bringing up Marcell Ozuna with the bases loaded. Ozuna absolutely crushed an elevated sinker from Irvin, but he didn’t elevate it enough and also hit it right at Abrams for an inning-ending groundout.

In the fifth, after the Nationals pulled ahead, Orlando Arcia got things started with a leadoff double. Murphy “moved” him to third with a groundout, but then Martinez and Harris both popped out. Welp. In the sixth, Riley knocked a leadoff liner single off Irvin, and Ozuna followed with a bizarre lofted fly ball that got massively aided by the wind, which pushed it into a carom off the right-field wall. Since Riley had to hold up with none out, all he could do was make it to third. Matt Olson then fouled out, Ozzie Albies grounded out back to Irvin, and Adam Duvall flew out. Double welp.

The Braves got nothing off Derek Law after chasing Irvin in the seventh. In the eighth, Ozuna hit a barrel with two outs that was misplayed by Jacob Young in center. Olson didn’t fail this time, driving him in with a hard single, but it ended up too little, too late, as Albies grounded out.

In the ninth, the Braves had a brief glimmer of hope as Adam Duvall reached on a strikeout against Washington closer Kyle Finnegan. But, Orlando Arcia hit a bouncer to third that became a 5-4-3 double play, and Sean Murphy went down on three straight fastballs to end it.

The Braves drop to 35-26, and now appear to be mired in a pattern where they’ll hit some homers in one game and then really struggle to barrel the ball in the next. Maybe they’ll more consistently hit the ball well for the rest of the series, but we’ll have to see.

Go to Source
Title: Braves can’t back dominant Sale in 2-1 loss
Author: Ivan the Great

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