A day after getting bounced, 7-0, by the Yankees in Tampa, the Braves turned around and delivered the same walloping unto the Blue Jays in North Port. Max Fried and Spencer Strider each breezed through two frames, and so did pretty much the rest of the pitching slate. Meanwhile, the bats knocked around some Jays pitching, with much of the damage coming from the regulars.
Fried struck out two in his first exhibition inning of 2023. He did allow two baserunners, including a fly ball double that wasn’t flagged down by Eddie Rosario in left to put men on second and third with one out, but then got a strikeout and a groundout to escape. His next inning was a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts and a pop out. Strider went six up, six down — he only struck out one, and walked the leadoff batter in the fourth, but then got a double play. Two of his six outs were pop-outs, so we can forgive him for the lack of strikeouts... this time.
Not to be outdone by those two standouts in the rotation, the rest of the arms the Braves used in this game continued to stifle the random backups and sundry the Jays brought with them to North Port. Raisel Iglesias threw a very quick, two-strikeout, one-groundout inning. Lucas Luetge gave up a slow tapper infield single and a hard-hit single, but also got a double play to end the frame. Alan Rangel worked a perfect frame with a strikeout; Grant Holmes gave up a leadoff single but nothing else with a strikeout of his own. Then it was time for designated “we have so many Spring Training and Gwinnett innings to cover” hurler Connor Johnstone, who actually allowed two hits in his inning, but nonetheless finished the game with Atlanta’s third double play of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Bats were just romping all around the place. Ronald Acuña Jr. walked to start the bottom of the first, and then scored from first on Matt Olson’s double. Michael Harris II later singled to score Olson. Both Acuña and Olson also singled in the second, but were stranded when Austin Riley struck out. Sean Murphy doubled to start the third and scored on Harris’ triple, which then became a 4-0 lead thanks to an RBI groundout by Ozzie Albies. The Braves scored yet more in the third, as back-to-back singles by Rosario and Orlando Arcia, followed by an error on a pickoff attempt, set up a sac fly by Vaughn Grissom.
The backups added a few more runs in the sixth. Justin Dean singled and stole second, moved to third on an Ehire Adrianza single, and then scored on Chadwick Tromp’s single. Cody Milligan then brought Adrianza home with another sac fly. (So many sac flies.)
Overall, the Braves collected 13 hits and five walks. Rosario went 1-for-3 with a strikeout, Arcia went 1-for-2 with a walk, and Grissom went 0-for-2 with a sac fly and a GIDP. The offensive outburst wasn’t really that surprising considering that they were facing a couple of fifth starter/swingman types in Drew Hutchison and Trevor Richards to start the game, but it was still fun to see, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Grapefruit League slate continues for the Braves on Tuesday as they head to Fort Myers to face the Twins, with Ian Anderson set to start the game and potentially show off his new slider thing.