Do you remember the Cubs game last year in April?
Some will remember it for the horrible weather, others for the great advantage that surrendered.
Well, while the Braves did not abandon such a big advantage, this may be just a painful memory.
The Braves lost to the Diamondbacks 9-6 on Tuesday night. Despite another good effort from Max Fried and the offense, the Braves' bullpen found a new level of terrible that had not reached before.
The game looked like a pitcher's duel from the start, as Fried and Robbie Ray only gave one hit in three innings. However, the top of the fourth was not so kind to Fried. After making David Peralta become a double play, Fried allowed three straight singles and a double, resulting in a 2-0 lead in Arizona.
However, Ronald Acuna Jr. had the answer, since he almost always seems to do it. His 448-foot explosion made the score 2-1. After Ray escaped from a double by Johan Camargo and a ride to Dansby Swanson, he caught Tyler Flowers looking at a slider. Fried would leave his own problem at the top of the fifth, as he was able to escape after a successful hitter and a single.
It seemed that the ease with which Ray was sailing earlier in the game abruptly stopped after the home run Acuna Jr. And his night crash landed at the bottom of the fifth. The singles of Fried and Ozzie Albies were followed by a double by Freddie Freeman. After a walk to Acuna Jr., Camargo returned to deliver with a double of bases. This gave the Braves a 5-2 lead.
Fried would work on the top of the sixth and finish with his third consecutive start of quality. In six innings, Fried allowed 2 earned runs, 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 batter hitter and struck out 3 batters. With the Braves offense in front of the Arizona bullpen for the rest of the way, it seemed like a very good bet that Fried was in line for his third straight win.
Or so we thought.
Since it is too painful to repeat the end of the game moment by moment, the total numbers will speak for themselves. Chad Sobotka, Jessie Biddle and Luke Jackson combined to give 2 hitters, 3 walks and 2 hits at the top of the seventh, which resulted in four runs. The Diamondbacks took a 6-5 lead. After a recent stretch in which the bullpen had finally begun to find its furrow, it deviated completely with a purpose.
However, as they seem to make good offenses and good teams, the Braves responded immediately instead of retiring. Ozzie Albies tied the game with his second homer of the season. While Shane Carle made his return to the majors escaping trouble after a ride at the top of the eighth, Dansby Swanson led the bottom of the eighth with a double. However, a double line by Tyler Flowers ended the rally.
In the upper part of the ninth, A.J. Minter immediately encountered problems. Christian Walker connected with his fifth homer of the year. After two quick starts, Minter allowed a double and a walk, and Jacob Webb was called to make his Major League debut. However, Adam Jones had a rude reception, as his two double races made the score 9-6.
That would be the final score. In general. The Braves' bullpen surrendered seven runs with two hitters, five walks, five hits and a home run. The Diamondbacks showed how good they are against lefties, especially at the bottom of the order. His five-to-eight-hole hitters combined to go 8-18 with 4 runs, 2 walks, 2 doubles, a home run and five RBIs.
While it is early in the season, this loss adds validity to some fairly objective claims. The Braves are a good team with an elite offense. However, they are also a defective equipment. This bullpen is simply a unit that will most likely prevent the Braves from being considered one of the best in the national league.
This was not just a defeat in April. This was a defeat that could be quite memorable if the Braves do not find the end of the game quickly.