Friday, March 25, 2022
After a rain-out on Thursday, it was a beautiful day for baseball on Friday as the Braves took on the Red Sox in a Grapefruit League matchup at CoolToday Park in North Port, FL. Making his very first start of spring, righty Ian Anderson flew through Boston’s lineup, going three innings and striking out four. Anderson allowed two hits (both singles) and a walk in the exhibition outing as he worked efficiently.
As its done so many times already so far this spring, the Braves offense jumped out to a 3-0 lead early on Friday, scoring three runs in the third inning when six consecutive batters reached base to begin the frame. First it was a lead-off walk by Dansby Swanson, a double by Eddie Rosario, an RBI groundout by Matt Olson, an RBI single by Austin Riley, back-to-back walks by Marcell Ozuna and Alex Dickerson, and then finally, a sac-fly by Ozzie Albies that scored Riley.
Tyler Thornburg pitched a perfect fourth frame, and to start the fifth, it was former Dodger Kenley Jansen that received his first bit of work in camp…
Jansen got two quick outs to begin the inning (a flyout and lineout), but then walked a batter and allowed an RBI single off the bat of Boston’s Christian Arroyo to cut Atlanta’s lead to 3-1. Jansen recovered, though, and got Jarren Duran to ground out to first base, ending the Red Sox threat.
The Braves lineup struck again in the sixth, pushing across three more runs to jump out to a big 6-1 lead. With one out, Guillermo Heredia singled to start the rally, followed by another base-hit by William Contreras. Then, two batters later, Travis Demeritte walked, and with bases loaded, John Nogowski slapped a line drive to left, scoring both Heredia and Contreras. Next up, Brock Holt pushed across Demeritte with an RBI single to right. Prospect Michael Harris loaded the bases again when he walked immediately after Holt’s base-hit – however, Ryan Goins grounded out to end the inning and leave three Braves stranded.
Both the seventh and eighth innings were quiet as neither team mustered any runs. Prospect Kyle Muller came on in the eighth and wound up getting all but the last out of the game, before giving way to Nolan Kingham. In 2 2/3 frames, the left-handed Muller struck out three and walked one, while allowing two runs from three hits. Boston’s two-run ninth cut Atlanta’s lead to 6-3, but with a runner on third, Kingham induced a hard-hit grounder to short and Pat Valaika made the easy throw to first to end the game.
The main takeaway from today’s game was the fact that we were able to see what will most likely be the Braves Opening Day lineup. That front-half of the batting order wound up doing pretty well too…
1 – Eddie Rosario: Double / run
2 – Matt Olson: RBI / walk
3 – Austin Riley: Single / RBI / run
4 – Marcell Ozuna: Walk
Riley in particular had a nice at-bat in the third when he knocked in Rosario, battling to fight off a tough pitch for a line drive to center. So far this spring, Riley is hitting .273 with two home runs and two RBI, and I’m liking his chances to repeat his .300+ AVG in 2022. This whole team is looking good so far, to be honest, and overall the Braves are now 4-1 in Spring Training. Boston was 6-2 coming into Friday’s game.
The Braves will be back at it again on Bally Sports South on Saturday, taking on a familiar foe this spring in the Twins. First pitch is set for 12:05 PM (CT) as Atlanta will go with lefty prospect Tucker Davidson. Minnesota will run out righty Chi Chi González.