Matt Olson got on the Grapefruit League home run board today, as he hit his first round-tripper as a member of the Braves in Atlanta’s 5-1 spring loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Kyle Muller got the start for the Braves today and while it definitely wasn’t a spring outing that he’d like to remember, it’s also one where you can’t really blame him too much for his struggles. Granted, he did give up two walks while he was out there, but the wind was also wreaking havoc on a lot of balls that made it into the air and into play as well. With that being said, getting pulled twice in one game isn’t exactly a sign that you were having a good day in the Grapefruit League, so there’s that.
Muller’s second replacement was Sean Newcomb, and unfortunately we can’t really use the wind as an excuse for the day that Newcomb had. The poor control that we’ve come to associate with Newcomb reared its ugly head once again, as he walked four Rays batters and threw a couple of wild pitches as well. Newcomb ended up with one earned run on his record, but two of the runs he gave up were attributed to Kyle Muller. It was an undisputedly rough day for Sean Newcomb and even though this is still just a spring training game, it’s a trademark that continues to follow Newcomb around as he continues to pitch professionally.
It wasn’t all bad news for the pitching staff today, though. Kenley Jansen made another appearance in a Braves uniform and marked it with a scoreless inning, while Darren O’Day also got in an inning and kept Tampa Bay off the scoreboard during his frame. Jansen and O’Day each picked up two strikeouts, though Jansen did give up a hit and O’Day had a walk under his belt. Still, their two innings were by far the two best innings for Braves pitchers who figure to play a big role in how the big league squad is going to fare this season.
When it came to offense, there wasn’t much on display for Atlanta today. There was only one major highlight, which included Matt Olson hitting a no-doubt dinger for his first home run of spring training. Unfortunately, nobody posted video of this mammoth blast online, so I’m just going to post a random Matt Olson home run and I’ll let you imagine that it took place at CoolToday Park down there in Florida.
Death, taxes, and Matt Olson homers pic.twitter.com/ZWYs6vewks— Oakland A's (@Athletics) August 19, 2021
Olson’s titanic swat was basically the extent of the offense for the Braves today. Ozzie Albies and Adam Duvall picked up hits, while minor leaguer Drew Campbell hit a double off of Kyle Muller’s brother, Chris Muller. Those were all four hits for the Braves, who didn’t have much going on at the plate this afternoon.
So, if you’re looking for positives then look no further than towards Matt Olson, Kenley Jansen, and Darren O’Day. Other than that, it was a quiet day for the Braves when it came to scoring and a bit of a rough day for the first two pitchers to take the mound for the Braves today. There’s always tomorrow and it’s especially nice since tomorrow is the first day of April and Max Fried will be making his final start before Opening Day. Baseball is beckoning!