With the Braves Opening Day roster beginning to take its final shape, as well as its starting rotation, Huascar Ynoa looked to get in one more start before spring camp ends this coming Tuesday. Unfortunately, Ynoa’s day didn’t go the way he hoped, as for the second consecutive game, an Atlanta starter got knocked around a bit. The 23-year-old righty worked around a single in the first, and with a monster solo-homer by Matt Olson in the bottom-half of the inning, Ynoa entered the second frame with a 1-0 lead.
But the second inning was a long one. Ynoa first allowed a lead-off single to Bobby Dalbec, then a homer by Jackie Bradley Jr., before getting back to back groundouts to settle things back down. However, the Red Sox weren’t done. Following a double by Yolmer Sanchez, the pesky Enrique Hernandez reached on a fielding blunder by Orlando Arcia, and with two outs Boston had runners on the corners. Ynoa did well to work an 0-2 count against the dangerous Rafael Devers, but somehow Devers was able to go down and get a breaking ball, essentially golfing it over the right field wall for a three-run home run.
Ynoa came back out for the third, down 5-1, but that time between innings was evidently what he needed. The young righty was locked-in the rest of his outing as he set down six-straight Boston batters through the third and fourth innings, and in the fifth, Ynoa worked around a lead-off double by getting out both Devers (groundout) and J.D. Martinez (flyout). With two outs in the frame, Kyle Wright came on in relief, ending Ynoa’s day. It wasn’t pretty, but it was certainly a nice bounce-back performance from a guy that appears to be the team’s fourth or fifth starter heading into the regular season. Ynoa should be fine.
Although as if he was trying to outduel his teammate, Wright came in and pitched lights out for the rest of the contest. After getting Alex Verdugo to groundout to end the fifth, Wright worked a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, pitched around a pair of singles in the seventh (one of which scored another Red Sox run) and then set down six consecutive Boston batters to end the game.
Wright had all his stuff working today, especially that breaking ball. He did get lucky on a curve he left hanging in the eighth, when Bobby Dalbec crushed it all the way to the left field wall, but luckily Braves outfielder Jesse Franklin had just enough room to make the catch. Overall, Wright struck out six and walked none in 4 1/3 innings of relief on Sunday. He allowed one unearned run from two hits. For a guy that has mostly struggled in the majors during his career, the 26-year-old Wright has put together a nice spring. It’s a small sample to get too excited about, but Wright hasn’t allowed a single run in camp this year, and today’s appearance gives him 7 1/3 scoreless frames, to go with eight punch outs and just one walk. Opposing batters have hit just .200 against the Alabama native.
Other contributors for the Braves included Marcell Ozuna, who finished with two hits in the loss. Guillermo Heredia – another player who has had a great spring – provided the Braves with its only other XBH (after Olson’s HR), as he doubled against Boston’s starter Nick Pivetta.
Other notable nuggets from today…
Before the game, David O’Brien from The Athletic reported that Ozzie Albies was a late scratch because of “general soreness”. Per O’Brien, Albies is expected to be back in the lineup for the final two spring games on Monday and Tuesday.
If you were watching the game today, you probably witnessed a Ambioris Tavarez sighting. Tavarez, 18-years-old, was the Braves international signing from January of 2021, and Sunday was his very first appearance in a game as a pro. The prospect infielder pinch-hit for Dansby Swanson in the eighth and lined out sharply to center, before striking out swinging in the ninth. I currently have Tavarez ranked 28th on my 2022 Braves Offseason Prospect List, and we should see him in Single-A Augusta at some point in 2022.
Before Sunday’s game, O’Brien shared another tweet regarding the Braves possible Opening Day roster: according to him, it looks like the sixth and final starting rotation spot will go to either Tucker Davidson or Spencer Strider, with whoever’s left out sliding over to the bullpen. If it were me, I’d probably give the lefty Tuck Davidson the starting job and insert Strider in the bullpen to replace injured righty Luke Jackson. Although I believe either young pitcher would be fine.
The Braves are back at it again on Monday with a 12:05 PM (CT) game against the Rays in Port Charlotte. Tomorrow’s contest will be Ian Anderson’s final spring start, as he’ll take on Tampa Bay’s Josh Fleming. Fortunately it looks like the home telecast is back as the Braves-Rays game on Monday is set to air on Bally Sports Southeast.