ATLANTA — While a lot of eyes will be on Max Fried as the Atlanta Braves’ starter for Game 2, there will also be plenty of focus on the offense that was shut out for just the third time all season in Saturday’s Game 1 loss. The Braves had the best offense in the majors during the regular season, but left seven men on base and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. They failed to tally a single extra-base hit in the game.
“I mean, they threw well,” Matt Olson said after Saturday’s game. “Suarez threw well. We know they got good bullpen arms. You know, just left a couple guys on base, and it’s baseball.”
The disappearing act left fans searching for answers and many focused on a pregame lineup change where Austin Riley moved up into the second spot of the order while Ozzie Albies dropped to fourth. After the game, Brian Snitker pushed back on that having anything to do with the offensive struggles and Riley agreed with him.
“I don’t think so. This line-up’s so talented,” Riley said. “Anybody can change the game in one swing of the bat. I don’t think that had a factor with anything.”
It looked like the Braves might get things going in the eighth when Ronald Acuña Jr. walked to start the inning and Riley followed with a single to left. After a deep fly out by Olson, Ozzie Albies sent a hard grounder back up the middle that Phillies shortstop Trea Turner made a diving stop on and then tossed to second to start an inning ending double play.
“It was a great play,” Olson said. “Ozzie hit that ball well. He ranged out to his left, made the play, and to be able to turn two on Ozzie, you gotta turn it quick.”
As disappointing as the Game 1 result was, the Braves have to turn the page quickly. They will hold a workout Sunday at Truist Park before resuming play Monday in Game 2 against Zack Wheeler.
“Nothing we can do about it now,” Olson said. “So come in tomorrow, get a little workout in, and prepare for Wheeler on Monday. Then go out and play our game.”
“You just come in tomorrow and just get back to work,” Riley said. “Trust your routine, trust your preparations for six months that we’ve done to get to this point and just try to slow the game down as much as possible. I think that’s a big thing. I think we can just slow the game, be in the moment, be present, and trust our ability.”
One thing we have learned about this roster is that there will be no panic. They recognize that the road is now much harder, but one of their best traits is their ability to focus on the next task at hand. Game 1 is over. All of the focus now goes towards Game 2 and evening up the series.
“It’s one game, we play a five-game series for a reason,” Olson said. “That’s the beauty of it. So, come back Monday, try to get a win.”