Atlanta’s offense was unable to truly get going tonight, as Hyun Jin Ryu and the rest of Toronto’s pitching staff was able to keep the Braves in check for most of the night. As a result, the Braves ended up getting the short end of the stick tonight and found themselves 2-1 losers against the Blue Jays.
In what turned out to be a bit of an omen for the Braves when it came to tonight’s game, they had two separate occasions in the first inning where they came very close to going ahead. Both Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna came just inches away from hitting solo homers to put the Braves in the lead. Instead, the balls went just foul and Ozuna struck out to end the first inning.
Toronto ended up taking advantage of the chance that they had in the very next frame. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Randal Grichuk both got on base with a one-out double and single, respectively. Vlad’s double in particular was notable since Ender Inciarte almost had a shot at robbing him of a hit. Ender got himself in position to make what would’ve been a spectacular play at the wall in right center, but the ball barely got past his glove and Vlad ran into second with the double.
Despite that turn of events, it still seemed like Sean Newcomb was going to get the second out without any major problems when Danny Jansen hit a pop fly to Acuña out in right field. Acuña didn’t plant his feet while making the throw as Vlad Jr. shockingly took off for home plate. First baseman Austin Riley (yeah, I know it’s weird) decided to cut off the throw and concede the run in favor of a wild pitch. There were curious decisions on display from both Acuña and Riley on that play, but the Blue Jays were grateful since they were able to get ahead in the second inning.
The next “almost” moment for the Braves came in the fifth inning. Newcomb was a strike away from getting through the fifth inning with just that lone run on the board. Bo Bichette then hit a line drive to center field — a liner that seemed like it was set up for Ender Inciarte to make the play. In a play that would’ve caused controversy and confusion among NFL referees, Ender had the ball in his grasp as he slid on the ground to make the play but the ball popped out of his glove and the out wasn’t recorded. The bad luck continued, as Bichette stole second and then eventually reached home after Cavan Biggio knocked him in. That was the end of Sean Newcomb’s night, and you could easily argue that Newcomb didn’t deserve that with the way he pitched tonight.
Ender Inciarte upset with himself after missing diving catch. pic.twitter.com/oZl6Y9DVR3— handlit33 (@handlit33) August 6, 2020
Meanwhile, the Braves had no such luck getting to Hyun Jin Ryu — the veteran pitcher made himself at home against the Braves after those initial scares in the first inning and the Braves had to wait until he was out of the game to get something going. Even then, the offense came in a flash of power from Adam Duvall. Immediately after Travis d’Arnaud got robbed by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in yet another “almost” moment, the 31-year-old absolutely muscled one from the right-handed batter’s box into the Chop House for a solo homer to at least make sure that the Braves didn’t get shut out. At that time, there was life in the Braves but nothing consistent either before or after that solo shot.
The bullpen continued to do a wonderful job of limiting the opposition’s chances at getting anything going, so the Braves went into the bottom of the ninth with the 2-1 score still intact. After Marcell Ozuna got on with a walk and Travis d’Arnaud picked up a single, the stage was set for Adam Duvall to continue his good night by possibly bringing in the tying run from scoring position. In a moment that basically summed up the night for the Braves, Duvall grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the game.
In a cruel twist of fate, the Braves got a decent performance out of a starting pitcher not named Mike Soroka or Max Fried and ended up losing because the offense couldn’t get going. The Braves had their chances and maybe on another night, a lot of those “almost” moments for the Braves would turn into big plays for them. Instead, it was just one of those nights as the Braves ended up dropping a game against the Blue Jays.