Lucas Sims pitched well, going a career-high 6 2/3 innings while allowing five hits and two runs. Sims struck out six and walked just two while earning his third win of the season. Ozzie Albies and Tyler Flowers were the biggest offensive producers for the Braves, with Albies homering to break a scoreless tie in the fourth, and Flowers blasting a two-run homer in the eighth to extend the Atlanta lead and cement a game one victory.
The Braves offense was kept quiet in the nightcap, which prevented Max Fried from picking up his second career win. The lefty went 5 1⁄3 innings, only allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits. Fried taking the mound on Monday made him the third consecutive rookie starter for the Braves, with Luiz Gohara and Sims preceding the outing. All three were very effective, and while Sims was the only winner of the trio, the Braves should be encouraged by each of their performances.
Braves players have reportedly come to the defense of manager Brian Snitker, who is believed to be on the hot seat as the season winds down. Snitker took over the team in early 2016, and has apparently endeared himself to a number of current players who feel that he should remain at the helm in 2018.
In many respects, this is not a surprise as not only has Snitker established a reputation as being a guy that his players love, but Braves’ players have been vocal of their support for Snitker in the past. This has been particularly true of Freddie Freeman, who Nightengale calls out specifically, as Freeman was vocal in wanting to have Snitker return for the 2017 season as well.
With Tyler Flowers’ homer on Monday, he and Kurt Suzuki have now combined for 30 on the season. That number would have seemed unattainable entering the 2017 season, but both catchers have enjoyed breakout seasons offensively. The best news is that the Braves have both under contract for 2018 at a combined $8 million, $3.5 for Suzuki and a $4.5 million team option for Flowers, which is almost certain to be picked up.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, now a member of the 50-home run club after just one season, has been the driving force behind the Yankees resurgence this season, while also inspiring some of the most unbelievably bad puns in the history of sports. Judge passed Mark McGwire on Monday for the most homers in baseball history by a rookie, which should give him a decent chance of getting some votes in the Rookie of the Year balloting.
The Dodgers became the first team in baseball to reach the 100-win mark on Monday, a feat which seemed inevitable until around mid-August, when the team took a nosedive while sitting in the low-90’s for the better part of a month. In any case, Los Angeles still has the best record in baseball and looks poised for another October run.