The Atlanta Braves finished May on a bit of a skid, dropping a series to the Dodgers, splitting a four-game set with the Phillies, and then going down two games to one to the lowly Athletics.
All things considered, the Braves do find themselves in a good position as they begin June. At 32-23, they hold the lead in the NL East. Still, the talented team seems to be scuffling. They hoped to turn things around as they traveled out west to face off with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who hold the National League’s best record.
The Diamondbacks are a surprise leader in the NL West and came into the game riding a five-game win streak.
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Charlie Morton’s Solid Outing Not Enough for Braves
Charlie Morton pitched very well once again. Once again, he was stuck with a tough-luck loss. Morton pitched seven complete innings, allowing just three runs, six hits, two walks, and striking out nine hitters. As usual, his curveball was sharp and he was locating both the fastball and the breaker.
He had a couple of infield singles in the first inning that led to two early runs. However, you could see Morton had good stuff despite the two-run first inning. Morton allowed dinky groundball singles to Geraldo Perdomo and Corbin Carroll in the first. Perdomo’s single left the bat at 81.4 mph while Carroll’s had a sizzling 69.5 mph exit velocity. Lordes Gurriel Jr. turned on a high fastball for his 16th double of the season, driving both runners in.
Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the hitter. No hat-tipping to Carroll and Perdomo, but Morton likes to elevate his four-seamer and Gurriel did a good job of squaring it up.
Nonetheless, Morton was fantastic the rest of the way and kept the Braves in the game. His season ERA now sits at 3.62. He was credited with his sixth loss of the season making his record 5-6. Morton has 72 strikeouts in 64.2 innings pitched this season.
It was certainly an impressive performance for the 39-year-old when you consider that the first six hitters in the Diamondbacks’ lineup all have an OPS over .800!
Atlanta Braves Offensive Notes
Eddie Rosario was the standout performer with the bat last night. Rosario went 3-4 with two solo shots. The homers were his sixth and seventh on the season. Rosario is slugging .575 since May 17th.
Austin Riley smashed his 12th double of the season in his lone hit of the night. He’s hitting .262 with a .783 OPS thus far in 2023.
Matt Olson had a baserunning gaffe that ended a scoring opportunity in the third inning.
Travis d’Arnaud had nearly turned the Braves one-run deficit into a lead after a Sean Murphy single to start the inning. Alas, the drive was caught near the wall. Eddie Rosario finished his solid night with a single to keep Atlanta alive. Albies flied out and Arcia grounded out to the pitcher to seal the loss.
Braves vs. Diamondbacks Game 2 Preview
It’s Spencer Strider Saturday! Spencer Strider (5-2) takes his 2.97 ERA to the mound against Ryne Nelson (2-2). Nelson’s ERA is 5.37 and his first name is not spelled the way it should be.
The two pitchers represent contrasting styles. Strider leads the major leagues in strikeouts with 106. Nelson has just 37 strikeouts in 57.0 innings pitched. Strider has an ERA under three while Nelson allows lots of players on the other team to score. Hopefully, the Braves will even the series out behind Strider!
You can watch the game on Bally Sports Southeast or MLB.TV if you are out of market. You can listen to the game on 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan.