Atlanta lost 10-6 in a wild one to the pesky Washington Nationals Friday as they begin the last series of the 2023 regular season.
The Braves have locked up everything there is to lock with, including the division title, the first round bye, best record in the NL, and best record in all of MLB. Needless to say, outside of some records they could still set and personal achievements, the only thing the Braves are playing for in this series is to stay healthy. Which is why it was no surprise the starting lineup was missing a couple of regulars when it was announced. The rest has begun.
Alan Winans took the ball Friday and pitched just ok. He started the game with 3 scoreless innings, with only a double and walk against him in the first three frames. In the 4th, the Nationals got back to back 68 mph singles to start the frame, and then Carter Keiboom launched a 3-run HR to left. Two batters later, Jake Alu homered to center to make a 4-run inning, and a once promising start went down the drain rather quickly.
Offensively, the Braves started quickly, as they normally do. Ronald Acuńa Jr led off the first with a single to left, stole second for his 71st stolen base of the season, and scored on an RBI single from Matt Olson to make it 1-0.
In the second inning, Travis d’Arnuad singled to start the frame and Forrest Wall followed it up with a single of his own two batters later. Acuńa then knocked in d’Arnaud with an RBI fielders choice and the Braves had an early 2-0 lead.
Washington’s 4-run 4th inning made 4-2 Nationals but Atlanta stormed right back in the 5th. Marcell Ozuna led off the inning with a ground rule double to left and was immediately driven home with an RBI single from Eddie Rosario. Nicky Lopez, Wall, and Kevin Pillar then all followed with singles of their own to make the score 5-4 Atlanta, and Ozzie Albies caped the inning off nicely by roping and RBI triple to center to give the Braves a 6-4 lead.
Washington wasn't done being pesky however as they started the next frame HR, groundout, walk, HR to take a 7-6 lead, a lead they wouldn't relinquish again. The Braves kicked the ball all around the infield the rest of the inning, committing three different errors, which allowed Washington to extend it to a 10-6 lead, and that was that.
Atlanta was able to rest some guys as Orlando Arcia and Michael Harris sat from the beginning and Acuńa and Olson were both pulled after two at-bats to get them off their feet.
Atlanta throws Spencer Strider tomorrow for his last tune up start before postseason baseball begins and my guess is we’ll see more starters rested tomorrow and Sunday as these are basically exhibitions games for Atlanta.