Acuna, Braves seeking wins following early struggles to open up the 2021 season

Week two of the season saw a lot of twos for the Atlanta Braves. However, the season has only just begun, and with that, a few notes from the first few games.

Doubling Up in Week Two

Not much went right in the first week for the Braves up in Philadelphia, and it appeared that things would stabilize as the bats woke up versus Max Scherzer and the COVID-19-stricken Washington Nationals.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the bullpen spoiled a solid offensive day as Juan Soto got the better of Will Smith, continuing their one-sided rivalry (2-3, HR, single) and walked off the first game, 6-5.

April 7 saw the Braves manage to close out a game and escape with their first win of the year, which started a twos trend for the visitors.

Max Fried went two innings, getting beat up in the box score and the ball literally, as he deflected a hard-hit ball from Soto to Austin Riley. That ball deflected off of Fried’s calf and prompted concerns, but he made it to the end of the inning.

Ronald Acuña Jr. heated up with two home runs and two stolen bases. Pablo Sandoval provides a boost off the bench, including slugging two pinch-hit home runs to put the Braves ahead, with this one sticking for the win in the final game of the series versus the Washington Nationals. 

The double-header saw a classic pitching duel between Braves rookie Huascar Ynoa and Nationals veteran Stephen Strasburg. Ynoa froze Nationals hitters for five innings and only yielded two hits and a walk. 

The offense proved to be hard to come by from both squads until the top of the seventh inning of game two.  With Dansby Swanson on base, Pablo Sandoval took advantage of the opportunity. Sandoval or  “The Panda” crushed a ball over center field to give the Braves the 2-0 lead. 

Former Braves starter Sean Newcomb sealed the victory in the bottom of the seventh and gave the Braves the series victory. The Braves bullpen is the silver lining of the series, keeping the Phillies from getting into a rhythm.

Atlanta plays their second game of a four-game series with the Miami Marlins tonight, with the first pitch set for 7:20 p.m. from Truist Park.