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Fried’s Fantasic, Acuna’s Awesome, and another Daily Display of Dansby’s Dominance

Braves earn another series win with 7-1 victory of Rockies.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Recap for tonight is simple.

Max Fried has the potential to be very good.

Ronald Acuna Jr. is more than likely going to be special.

And absolutely no one cares because neither of them is Dansby Swanson.

I am only slightly kidding

The Braves earned their 7th win in 8 games Tuesday night in Colorado. Max Fried pitched another gem in a growing effort to solidify his rotation spot. Acuna Jr. finally remembered how to hit (sarcasm) with a multi-hit game, and Luke Jackson all of the sudden is a key cog in the bullpen.

And yet all anyone will likely remember is two pitches.

And that is what makes baseball wonderful.

The two pitches were the slider that Swanson showed his long awaited yet much appreciated new found discipline on, and then the 96-mph heater he destroyed two pitches later off one of the best young pitchers in the game. We have all suffered along with Swanson through his struggles. I would be willing to bet if someone asked, an overwhelming majority of Braves fans would say they got more excited by the slider that was taken than the fastball that was distributed into the center field seats.

Swanson’s new approach has been apparent all year long. However, that sequence seemed like it could be the defining statement of him finally turning his potential into production. Maybe its health, maybe its luck, maybe it’s a hot streak, maybe its Maybelline, as evidenced by his flawless hair. If it remains consistent, Swanson’s new approach could easily be the best acquisition anyone could have hoped for coming into 2019.

While Swanson’s home run certainly was huge, another excellent performance from Max Fried also played a significant role in the win. Overall, Fried threw 90 pitches over 6 innings, and gave up 5 hits, 1 walk, 1 unearned run while striking out four. Over 12 innings, Fried has walked one batter and gave up 0 earned runs. He has two quality starts, and most importantly, two wins.

Many pointed out over social media and in the comments here that Fried’s curve ball could be less effective in the thin Denver air. However, that did not deter Fried from using it, and he found success when he unleashed the hook. 32 of his 90 pitches were curve balls. 21 of those 32 were strikes, of which 3 were swinging strikes, 5 were called strikes, 8 were foul balls, 4 resulted in outs, and 1 was a hit.

In other words, out of 21 curve balls in the strike zone, Fried had a successful outcome on 20 of them. Overall, 57 of his 90 pitches were strikes. He was able to locate his pitches consistently, getting first pitch strikes on 60% of the 23 batters he faced. While his defense certainly supported him, Fried’s effectiveness was again on display.

After a quiet first for both teams, Acuna Jr. got the scoring starting with a home run to straight center in the top of the second. As has been mentioned, the skill has been on display all year long, with the luck finally starting to catch up. In the bottom of the third, the Rockies got runners on 1st and 3rd with the top of the order due up. However, Freddie Freeman made a great play to get an unassisted double play on a Yonathan Daza line drive, followed by Fried striking out Raimel Tapia.

In the top of the 4th, the Braves seized their opportunity. Josh Donaldson lead off with a double, and then scored on a Freddie Freeman single to make it 2-0. After Acuna Jr. struck out, Nick Markakis singled to advance Freeman to third (he was clearly safe). That is when Swanson delivered his heroics with a 3-run home run to make it 5-0.

Fried would run into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth. A Nolan Arenado single and Trevor Story force out was followed by a pass ball with Ian Desmond at the plate. After Story advanced to second, Desmond knocked him in with a single. A throwing error by Fried got Desmond all the way to third, but Fried ended the rally with a strike out and pop out.

Both teams would go quietly in the 5th and 6th innings. Luke Jackson would relieve Fried in the bottom of the 7th inning. Despite giving up a single and a walk, Jackson would strike out the side to continue his dominance since leaving Philadelphia. The Braves would add another run in the top of the 8th inning, as Freeman, Acuna Jr. , and Markakis hit three straight singles.

After Chad Sobotka held the Rockies scoreless in the bottom of the 8th inning, doubles by Ozzie Albies and Charlie Culberson made the score 7-1 in the top of the 9th inning. Jessie Biddle would come in to secure the win in the bottom of the 9th inning.

While Fried, Acuna Jr., and Swanson all contributed in big ways, the Braves bullpen has now delivered 7 scoreless innings of work in back to back nights. Many were highly concerned about the pen’s potential performance in Coors, yet it has looked the best it has since last year. Furthermore, 4.1 scoreless innings from Jackson and Sobotka were much needed. Overall, the bullpen has been better than anyone expected.

Yes, we still need to sign Kimbrel.

Tomorrow, the Braves go for the sweep and look to get their third series win in a row as Kevin Gausman will face off against Jeff Hoffman at 2:10 CST. However, as has been reported, that matchup is in doubt with blizzard warnings in the Denver area at noon tomorrow. Hopefully, this will not be another situation like Chicago last year. If the game clearly should not be played, do what is best for both teams and work it out later.

Stay connected with us here at Talking Chop for highlights and reactions to tonight’s game, plus updates as they came on tomorrow’s matchup.

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