The Braves locked down a 4-2 victory against the Brewers on Monday night. It was their fifth consecutive win, and one which extended their lead in the NL East to 7½ games over the Nationals, and 9½ over the Phillies. The record now sits at 58-37. The Brewers fall to within one game of .500, sitting at 48-47.
Max Fried got the W, pushing his record to 10-4. He looked dominant early but eventually succumbed to a blister issue that has plagued him throughout his career. He made it through five scoreless innings before his most recent blister appeared - this one on his left index finger. For a guy who has had recurring issues with blisters, this will be a development to track closely. If he is expected to miss any extended time, it would further enhance the urgency for the Braves to add another starter at the trade deadline.
Despite surrendering four runs in the loss, Milwaukee’s Adrian Houser put up his best start of the season for the Brewers. He made it through six innings, striking out three and preserving a beleaguered Brewers bullpen that wasn’t equipped to log extensive innings. His offense just wasn’t able to pick him up on this night.
Ozzie Albies had another multi-hit game - logging three hits tonight - and this is becoming quite a fun theme.
#Braves 2B Ozzie Albies was batting .259 on June 5.— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) July 16, 2019
Since then, he's batted .357 over his last 33 games, including three more hits tonight. This marks Albies' 16th multi-hit game in those 33 contests.
Glad to see we’ve got Good Ozzie back.
The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning. Two consecutive infield hits from Ronald Acuña and Dansby Swanson set the table for Freddie Freeman to light up the scoreboard for the Braves. A poorly placed curveball right in Freddie’s wheelhouse got smashed 424 feet to center, and put the Braves ahead 3-0.
After looking well-rested and sharp for the first three innings, Fried ran into some trouble in the bottom half of the fourth inning - possibly when the blister began to rear its ugly head. He surrendered a single to Christian Yelich and a walk to Yasmani Grandal, but came away unscathed after retiring Mike Moustakas and Jesus Aguilar. He was right back in the soup in the fifth, though, allowing a leadoff ground rule double to Keston Hiura (who was erased after a heads-up play from Fried caught him in a rundown) and eventually putting two runners on with Yelich coming to the plate. Crisis was averted as he lined out to Austin Riley to end the inning.
After Josh Tomlin came on to relieve Fried in the sixth, Ryan Braun mashed a home run to center to bring the score to 3-1. Tomlin’s ensuing strike out of Grandal got Grandal tossed (not really sure why, since it was a clear strike), and this wound up being the best possible outcome. Moustakas followed with a single, then Hiura tripled to center and brought Moose home to score. Had Grandal been aboard, the game would have been tied, but alas, he was already in the clubhouse by that point instead.
Houser started to show cracks in the armor in the seventh inning, allowing three straight singles to Albies, McCann, and Riley - the third of which stretched the Braves’ lead to 4-2, where the score would stay for the duration of the evening. He was relieved by Junior Guerra, who promptly shut down the threat.
Chad Sobotka worked a scoreless seventh inning - his seventh scoreless appearance out of nine since being recalled on June 24. Anthony Swarzak followed him with a clean eighth. A fun fact about Swarzak - he has only allowed eight hits since being acquired on May 20. One of those hits was a home run to Howie Kendrick on May 28 - and that is the only run he has allowed in a Braves uniform. What an acquisition he has been
Luke Jackson worked a clean ninth inning, striking out two and logging his 17th save. Jackson has shaky on the mound at times, but tonight he looked dominant.
These two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 8:10pm ET.