Let’s get the negative out of the way first.
Brian Snitker made a questionable decision tonight, which is not a first. It did not pay off, which is not a first. I am all for being aggressive and competitive, but not in place of using common sense when you are getting much needed dominance from the mound. We have all seen this story before, and are all too familiar with how it ends, and well this time.....
The Braves were able to overcome it.
You are completely within your right mind to question the why and how. Just try not to let that get in the way of the enjoyment of the end result.
The Braves beat the Padres tonight behind a dominant pitching performance from Mike Soroka, a cutter Mariano Rivera would be jealous of from Josh Tomlin, and the continued hot hitting of Ozzie Albies.
In the top of the first, Soroka gave up two hits and a double play to yield the first run of the game. Things would go by pretty quietly until the bottom of the third. Ender Inciarte would single with one out, then unfortunately would have to leave the game due a leg injury. Johan Camargo would enter the game as a pinch-runner, with Captain Clutch Mike Soroka stepping to the plate. Then, the one thing everyone expected happened.
After Soroka’s heroics, Albies would deliver a single to drive in Soroka. Following these shenanigans, the one thing the Braves needed more than anything happened: pitching took them the rest of the way. From the fourth inning on, Mike Soroka, Josh Tomlin, Jerry Blevins, and Jacob Webb would combine to allow only two hits.
Ozzie Albies would add his confirmation in the bottom of the fifth with his sixth home run of the season. With Ronald Acuna Jr.’s bat silencing a bit over the past week, Albies has picked up the slack with ease. While Snitker certainly should be criticized for another potential costly move tonight, his quick changing of the guard at the lead-off spot has certainly paid off.
However, the story of the night was Mike Soroka. He went six innings, giving up one hit, one walk, and one run while striking out a career-high eight batters. Soroka’s consistency in finding the zone has certainly been a welcome sight for a staff that is on an historic pace when it comes to walks. For the second time in his three starts in 2019, Soroka registered at least 52 of his first 75 pitches for strikes. The Braves have only done that three other times since 2017, with the last being Luiz Gohara in September of that year. Max Fried needed a partner in prosperity, and Mike Soroka’s arrival could not have been more prompt (similar to how my alliteration is clutch.)
Besides grammatical tools, on a night where the Braves were limited in the bullpen and getting base hits, Soroka and Tomlin stepped up and delivered. With Soroka, Fried, and Folty now in the rotation, this will hopefully become the norm rather than the exception.