Last Week in Atlanta – Week 20

This week saw the first of two quickfire series against the Giants along with the demolition of an anaemic Yankees team. While it seems weird to say – should the Braves be disappointed with a one-loss week?

Overall Record: 80-43, 1st place in NL East

Record this week: 5-1

Best moment of the week:

Forget what I said last week! The starting pitching is brilliant. In three consecutive starts, Bryce Elder, Charlie Morton and Spencer Strider all pitched beautifully on their way to earning the Braves three consecutive shutouts – only the second time a team has managed that this year.

Bryce had seven innings of one-hit ball, Charlie notched a season’s best ten strikeouts in six innings of work and Spencer matched Bryce with just a hit and a walk in seven innings. It was great to see them all be so dominant – it lessened the strain on a bullpen that had been overtaxed of late, and it gave Braves fans a renewed sense of confidence looking ahead to the playoffs.

Worst moment of the week:

We turn to the week’s sole loss for the worst moment, and unfortunately the world had a front-row seat to a man forgetting how to pitch.

In a scene reminiscent of British single-A baseball, Kirby Yates came in relief and issued a walk and two straight hit by pitches to load the bases, before remembering who and where he was to collect two strikeouts. However, the damage was done – he issued another walk to give the Giants the lead before making way for Collin McHugh.

The Braves couldn’t reply in the bottom of the ninth, and Yates found himself on the hook for the loss – his first of the year.

Player of the week:

This week’s player of the week also took home the NL Player of the Week award – it’s Eddie Rosario.

He slashed a stupid .524/.583/1.048 over the course of the week and cracked a three-run go-ahead homer to ice the game against the Giants on Saturday. Eddie collected over a third of the team’s RBI this week, with 10 out of a total 29, and outpaced everyone else in basically every category. Eddie’s finding his 2021 NLCS form – and not before time.

WTF moment of the week:

Are fish friends or food? Ozzie Albies says friends. The below surely cements his reputation as the Braves’ cutest player.

View from the other side:

This week we have San Francisco sports superfan and Giants correspondent Ash Day here to give his take on this week’s series. Once you’re done here, why not take a look at his excellent Wilmer Flores article?

The Giants did well to salvage a single win against arguably the best team in the league. They left it late, stealing a lead in the final inning of the final game (thanks Kirby Yates), but this was a competitive series overall.

San Francisco have been steadily undoing all the goodwill they earned from an impressive May and June, with a dreadful July and August. Somehow, they still cling to a wild card spot. Playing the Braves in Atlanta couldn’t have come at a worse time and after being dominated and held scoreless in game one, I feared the worst.

Thankfully the Giants showed signs of life in game two, and despite losing 6-5 after Eddie Rosario enjoyed his hero moment, there were positives to take away. Finally, the Giants put it all together on Sunday afternoon and big homers from Luis Matos and Wilmer Flores helped propel the visitors to an unlikely but deserved victory.

I was sat at home watching the top of the ninth inning, and witnessed Yates forget how to throw a baseball, loading the bases with no outs. Then the Giants struck out twice and looked poised to waste the golden opportunity Yates had so generously laid before them. It would be so on-brand for this edition of the 2023 Giants to throw away this chance. Miraculously, Joc Pederson remained patient at the plate and let Yates walk San Francisco into a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.

Hopefully the Giants use this morale-boosting end to the series as a springboard to get their season back on track.

Optimism tracker:

9/10 – it’s gotten to the point in the year where I’m just waiting for the playoffs, and more specifically – waiting to see who we’ll face. The most important thing now is that we avoid injuries and finish strong, and take some confidence into the postseason.

What’s on next week?

Atlanta faces the Mets at Truist for three to begin the week, take Thursday as a travel day, and then have a rematch with the Giants from Friday to Sunday. As far as pitching matchups go, the marquee matchup between two NL Cy Young candidates in Spencer Strider and Alex Cobb on Friday is – without a doubt – the game to watch. 

UK friendly games: 

Saturday August 26 @ Giants (9:05pm)

Featured image of Eddie Rosario by @MLBStats on Twitter.

Charlie Deeks is the Atlanta Braves correspondent on Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @Omashaft!

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