A pitcher’s duel ended up turning into a disappointing loss for the Braves after things got away from their defense and bullpen in the top of the eighth inning.
Both of tonight’s starting pitchers haven’t been having their best season by any stretch of the imagination, so of course we ended up getting a pitcher’s duel. It was another one of those high-effort nights on the mound for Julio Teheran, as he ended the sixth inning on exactly 100 pitches.
He went into to pitch into the seventh inning, which is when he got the bottom of the lineup out for the first two outs before handing the baton to Jesse Biddle, who got the final out of that frame to keep the game tied at one at the time. It was actually a pretty solid bit of pitching management from Brian Snitker, even if it resulted in Biddle having to be burned for just one batter since the pitcher’s spot was immediately up afterwards. Still, Snitker’s received his fair share of criticism this season so you’ve got to give him credit where it’s obviously due.
Anyways, it was tied at one at that point because Julio’s one major mistake ended up being a costly one. Justin Smoak managed to float a 90 mph fastball from Teheran into the bullpen in right field.
Keep your Smoak alarm on, because this guy is ON FIRE! pic.twitter.com/CQ0YAS2a7P— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 11, 2018
That put Toronto in the lead in the third inning but that also ended up being the only run that Julio would concede during his time on the mound. With the way his season has gone, we will absolutely take that performance from Julio.
Unfortunately for Julio, he didn’t get too much help from his offense as Marcus Stroman basically had the Braves’ hands tied for the seven innings that he spent on the mound. He gave up six hits and walked two batters, but the Braves just could not string together those hits on a regular basis in order to get runs on the board.
Atlanta’s only run off of Stroman came in the sixth inning which is when they manufactured a run thanks to a leadoff bunt from Ozzie Albies eventually being cashed in following a two-out single from Kurt Suzuki.
Other than that, it seemed like Stroman was always able to induce a crucial groundball to escape even the slightest hint of trouble, which meant that this was a frustrating night at the plate for Atlanta.
The frustration hit an overall boiling point for the Braves in the top of the eighth inning. A.J. Minter started off that inning by getting a grounder to the shortstop but the ball skipped under Dansby Swanson’s glove and rolled into the outfield. To compound Dansby’s error, Freddie Freeman failed to catch a pickoff throw and just like that, the Blue Jays had a runner in scoring position through little effort of their own.
Apparently, that ended up being the spark that Toronto needed. After Smoak popped out for the first out of the inning, the next six Blue Jays batters all reached safely. Three of those batters reached at the expense of Minter and then the first three batters who Shane Carle faced all reached as well. The inning mercifully came to an end when they got a double play but not before the Blue Jays had put five runs on the board to make it 6-1.
The Braves pushed over another run in the bottom of the frame but that was all of the offense that Atlanta could muster for the rest of the night. The story of this game was basically Atlanta’s lack of offense for the entire game and unusually poor defense sparking an awful inning for the home team and a great one for the road team.
It’s definitely a disappointing loss and the Braves will now be heading into tomorrow’s game in second place in the NL East as a result.