In a sad, sad, turn of events, the Atlanta Braves, America’s favorite baseball team, took an L on Monday night. With their great game on Sunday night, the Braves just couldn’t string together back to back wins to push it to a final game five. On Sunday October 7th, the Braves opened the eyes to many and looked poised to keep things going after a Ronald Acuna grand slam to go up 5-0 in the early going. The Dodgers did manage to tie the score up in the 5th, to only let Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman untie the score in the 6th with his leadoff home run to right. The Braves would go on to hold onto the lead to force a game 4, only to lose in tragic fashion to the Dodgers as Manny Machado put a dagger in Braves fans and players hearts.
Why are we sad though? Yes, the Braves didn’t advance, but what a beautiful season it was. We saw the emergence of Mike Foltynewicz who is the ace of the future in Atlanta. Johan Camargo stepped up in a big way, especially in the second half, where the Braves have no worries plugging him into the third base spot for the 2019 season. Ozzie Albies followed up his solid rookie campaign in 2017 to emerge as a legit threat in the day to day lineup for the Braves, easily entrenching himself as the 2019 starter for second base. Of course, Braves super star first baseman Freddie Freeman did his part, hitting over .300 for the fourth time in his career, while also driving in the second most RBI’s of his career is 98. Although his home run total did drop for the second consecutive year, there is nothing to be worried about for the future as Freeman seems to be one of the most consistent hitters in all of baseball while playing all 162 games for the second time in his career.
Dansby Swanson did take another step back, if you thought that was possible, as he struck out two more times than he did last year, and walked 15 times less than he did in 2017. His counting stats increased as he did hit 14 home runs and stole 10 bases this year compared to the six home runs he hit in 2017 and the three steals he also racked up. Kind of a weird situation for the Braves, but they have to let it ride as there still is untapped talent in his bat.
As a Braves fan, it was exciting to see all the talent in the starting rotation that was displayed this year. Sean Newcomb looks like a legit 2-3 starter with still room to maybe grow into an ace. Max Fried looks like he can help the team in years to come as does Touki Toussaint. Julio Teheran does look like he is losing some steam as father time seems to be infiltrating his pitching abilities, but should still be a lock as the 4 starter next season. A.J. Minter stepped up in a big way to fill in for Arodys Vizcaino when he went down mid-season. Brad Brach and Kevin Gausman might not return, but the Braves should be alright filling in the holes.
Did you really think I would forget about talking about baseball’s next prodigy? Fuck no. My boy Ronald Acuna lived up to the hype plus some this year and it was beautiful to watch. In case you didn’t know, Acuna put the Braves on his back hitting a grand slam in game three of the playoffs to keep hopes alive in Atlanta. Along with that great performance, he also showed up for the 111 games he played during the regular season. Reading his stats give me a half chub and it is with great reason. Acuna finished with a slash of .293/.366/.552– .917 OPS– third highest among all rookies in both leagues. Having the highest WAR in the National League with a strong 4.1. Acuna had 26 doubles, 4 triples, 26 home runs, 64 RBI’s, and 15 steals. Acuna competition seems to be Juan Soto un the National League but as Acuna continued his torrid pace, in my opinion, Soto started to tail off toward the end of the season. Only solidifying his Rookie of the Year award. Only time will tell as awards will be announced sometime by the end of the World Series or a little after.
As it was disappointing to watch the Atlanta Braves go down to the Dodgers as they advanced to their third straight NLCS, it was not a disappointing season at all. The Braves surpassed expectations by a long shot only to make believers out of nonbelievers of people doubting them coming into the 2018 season. 2019 should be just as exciting to watch as the Braves will look to take home their second straight division title.
P.S. Go Brewers baby. Let’s beat the fucking Dodgers. Christian Yellich still deserves MVP and it’s still #freebigdad szn.