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Braves get back to winning ways, eye reinforcements with deadline in sight

Atlanta’s offense led the way Friday night while they continue to cobble together their pitching staff.

Milwaukee Brewers v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves got back in the win column Friday night with a 10-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Atlanta got another big offensive performance and just enough from the pitching staff to hold on for the win. Since the All-Star break, the Braves have a 5.40 ERA which is 27th in the league. They also have a 4.33 FIP which also tells a bit of a different story, but injuries to the bullpen, have contributed to their sluggish start to the second half.

New addition Yonny Chirinos made his Braves debut in Friday’s game. He wasn’t overly impressive allowing six hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings, but threw the ball in the strike zone and successfully got the game off the ground, which was something Brian Snitker said that he was looking for during pregame.

“It was good. He threw it over and I was hoping we’d get four innings out of him,” Snitker said of Chirinos. “Hadn’t pitched in a while. He’s not a strikeout guy, he’s a contact guy.”

Friday’s outing was Chirinos’ first since July 16. He last started a game on June 24. With Max Fried presumedly returning soon, we will have to see what sort of role Chirinos shifts to going forward.

With the exception of a hiccup in the eighth inning by Ben Heller, Atlanta’s bullpen did a good job, especially after being pressed into duty early. Collin McHugh, Pierce Johnson, Joe Jimenez, Kirby Yates and Raisel Iglesias combined to allow three hits and nothing else over five innings in relief. Heller was tagged for three runs and retired just one run in the eighth.

“It was big. Kind of knew probably that’s right where we were going to use him too,” Snitker said of McHugh. “So that was huge just to kind of get us to the other guys.”

Johnson allowed one hit and had one strikeout in inning in his home debut with the Braves.

“I like him. I think he’s going to really help us,” Snitker said when asked about Johnson. “It was good. I wanted to get him a clean inning the other day, but the game never lets you do things like that. So it’s nice to get him out there for a clean inning. It was a tough play at second, or he might have had an inning-ending double play the other day too.”

Help could be on the way for Atlanta’s bullpen too. A.J. Minter tossed a scoreless inning in his second rehab appearance with Gwinnett Friday night. Snitker said that they would see how he feels Saturday, but barring any setbacks, he could be back as soon as Sunday.

“Yeah, no, we’ll see how he comes tomorrow and then adjust from there,” Snitker said. “But yeah, I hope his next outing will be here.”

The Braves put their focus on the field Friday, but with the trade deadline coming up on Tuesday, they know that more changes could be coming as Alex Anthopoulos explores reinforcements for the remainder of the season and hopefully a long postseason run. Matt Olson said after the game that it is something that the players are aware of, but that they try not to worry about it and just put their faith in Anthopoulos.

“No, I mean, I think you see MLB network playing in the clubhouse and you hear stuff about guys that are potentially available, but it’s way out of our control and I think Alex will do as he pleases there,” Olson said after Friday’s game. “Everybody’s got faith in anything he wants to do or not do. I know we got a great team in that clubhouse right now, but if something comes around, I’m sure Alex has our best interest in mind.”

With the exception of the 2020 season, Anthopoulos has pulled off deals to strengthen the club at the deadline. The Braves already made three additions earlier this week in adding Chirinos, Johnson and Taylor Hearn, who looks like a candidate to start Sunday’s game against Milwaukee. Still, it feels like a bigger and more significant move is still possible.

“Like I said, we got full confidence in him,” Olson added. “Ever since the second I’ve been over here, you can tell he cares a lot. He cares a lot about putting a good team together. He cares a lot about putting good guys in the clubhouse together, which might be more important. And it feels like he knows when to make the right moves at the right times.”

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