It wasn’t a particularly good night for baseball in Queens, but the Braves nonetheless prevailed in a very rain-shortened contest by a 4-0 score, starting their four-game set against the division rivals off on a soggy-but-still-good (like french fries, sometimes, I guess) note.
Most of this game wasn’t really fun to watch, probably for fans of either side, and I can’t imagine it was all that much fun to sit at the ballpark or actually play in it, either. Through four innings, there were only five total baserunners, and no extra-base hits. The elements seemed to be causing problems all around: for Max Fried and David Peterson, grip seemed hard to come by, and there were sequences where they just couldn’t get the ball near the plate. For the batters, there were a lot of swings at noncompetitive pitches, either because seeing a baseball in heavy rain is fairly difficult, or because they just wanted to get back to the dugout where there was a roof over their heads. (Probably the former, but you never know.)
Max Fried, though — not that you needed further confirmation, but he was a trooper, as usual. Fried earned his cheapie complete game shutout five an excellent five innings of seven-strikeout, one-walk, three-hit ball. He gave up a couple of grounder singles and a hard liner to Francisco Alvarez in the fifth, and at one point walked Jeff McNeil when the rain had just picked up. That was really it — sort of a ho-hum, yeah, we expect this from you, champ, at this point — but it was a great start.
Meanwhile, the bats finally broke through against Peterson in the top of the fifth. Eddie Rosario hit a one-out single, and then Kevin Pillar, the former Met, got a very Mets-esque double by softly rolling a ball down the left-field line for one of the softest-hit doubles the Braves will likely record all year (73.5 mph off the bat). That brought up Michael Harris II, just back from the Injured List, though unfortunately, Peterson throws with his left hand. Harris hung tough after falling behind 0-2, working the count full, but on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, he slammed the ball into the ground at 101 mph and bounced it towards Brett Baty at third base. Rosario ran home on contact and was easily thrown out, putting men on the corners with two out.
But, you know what it was time for: the third time through the order reckoning. It came swiftly this time around. Ronald Acuña Jr., who had lined the first pitch of the game 111 mph but right at a fielder, lined the first pitch of 3TTO-land to right at 104 mph, scoring Pillar from third. Then came Matt Olson, and uh... don’t hang a first-pitch slider to Matt Olson in 3TTO-land.
Absolutely crushed #ForTheA | @mattolson21 pic.twitter.com/xEWUJ8lo3u— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 29, 2023
That was pretty much it for this game. As mentioned, Fried had few issues working around a single in the bottom of the fifth, and after making us wait around for a bit, MLB and the umpiring crew called the game in favor of the Braves.
These two teams are scheduled to tangle again tomorrow afternoon (4:05 pm ET), but we’ll see what happens. We did get some drenched baseball tonight, which is better than no baseball, so we might have to take what we can get. The Braves now have a three-game lead on the Mets and can no longer leave New York in second place as a result of the victory. But, they’ll be trying to go for much more over whichever remaining games of this series actually get played.