Thursday’s series finale in San Francisco was a marathon sparked by none other than rookie Austin Riley, in the 8th inning of the game, with the Giants leading 4-2 and Vanderbilt-product Dansby Swanson on first base, Austin Riley came to the plate with what seemed like a boulder on his shoulders and what did he do? He took Tony Watson’s 93 mile-per-hour fastball deep into the San Francisco afternoon. His fifth homer in his ninth career game, that traveled out of the ballpark at 104 mph off of his bat. He also secured the Braves’ win Thursday with a single that brought home the go-ahead runner. Riley has now homered in 18 of his last 27 at bats, going to back to his time at Gwinnett where he had 13 round trippers. He is scorching hot. The 8th-inning shot put him in the history books. Making him the first Braves player in 111 years to have 5 homers in his first 9 at-bats at the big league level. He’s with a team that has seen its fair share of sluggers like: Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones,, Eddie Matthews and Dale Murphy but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anything like him. He’s just the second Major-Leaguer in history, age 22-or younger to accomplish the feat joining Carlos Delgado (1993-1994). He’s nine games into his career and he’s already etched his name into not only Atlanta’s history books but also the Major League Baseball history books. He’s putting up video game numbers in real-life. It’s honestly breathtaking. What can’t he do? He saved the game from ending in regulation by making a sliding grab in left field in the ninth inning to go along with the blast. I don’t know how to describe this kid. It’s truly a treat to watch him play the game. What can we expect from him tomorrow?
Austin Riley has been in the major leagues just over a week, eight days to be exact, but he’s playing like he’s been in “The Peach State” all year long. Riley is also making his presence felt not only on the field but also in the clubhouse. To be honest with you, he reminds me a lot of a switch-hitter from DeLand, Florida, Atlanta Braves legend and 2018 National Baseball Hall of Famer, Chipper Jones. Over Austin Riley’s first eight days in the Atlanta clubhouse, he’s had 30 at-bats and has hit to the tune of a .367 average with 4 home runs, 9 RBI, a .406 on-base percentage and a 1.206 OPS. It’s looking like he wants to stay right where he is with Atlanta. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this kid will be special just give him time although he is already proving that he is the spark the Braves needed in the lineup. He’s got a long way to go but he’s proving his worth so far. I just can’t get enough of this kid.
We all know that there is absolutely nothing to do in Southaven, Mississippi, but 22-year-old Austin Riley, a Southaven, Mississippi native, born in Memphis, Tennessee, begs to differ which leaves Braves fans all over the country wonder “Could this “kid” be the next big thing to come out of Atlanta?” While only in his early 20s, Austin Riley has made the quite the impression on the Atlanta fanbase over his his first five games in a Braves uniform. Going 1-for-3 in his Majors debut, that one hit? A massive 438-foot homer, 3-for-3 with three singles in his second game with three singles, 2-for-5 in his third game, 2-for-3 in his fourth game and 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his most recent game in Atlanta. I refuse to say he’s in a “slump” after his most recent game based on his early-career numbers, maybe it was just a bad game. There is almost nothing to be mad about with this kid. Some refer to the Braves as the “Baby Braves,” as they are one of, if not the youngest team in baseball. He’s getting it done at just the right time. Not to mention, he started his first four games in left field and got the nod at third base today. Does that remind you of anybody. Coming into the series with Milwaukee, people were saying “The Brewers are on a 3-game winning streak and I just don’t see how the Braves can stop that.” Atlanta put a quick stop to that with a historic 9-run sixth inning on Friday, at one point, they were up 12-0 and saw some ninth inning troubles but came away with a 12-8 win, Saturday’s game was much closer as it lasted 10-innings but Freddie Freeman came in clutch, as he has done most of his career, turning out the lights on the Brewers 4-3 with a walk-off homer to give the Braves the series win. Sunday, Atlanta wasn’t quite as fortunate dropping game three, 3-2 in 10 innings thanks to a Ben Gamel homer to lead-off the 10th off of Wes Parsons. Atlanta finished the 6-game home stand with a 4-2 record. The 9-run sixth Friday was something that had just been done 11 times in the past 30 years. The last time the Braves scored 9 runs in an inning was May 20, 2009 vs. Colorado. I think the Braves are getting hot at just the right time with a seven-game road trip looming. The first four of which are on the West Coast against San Francisco, the West Coast has not been kind to the Braves this year, the last three are in St. Louis. The seven-game road trip kicks off tomorrow night at 8:45pm Central Time.
Coming into this 10-game, three-city road trip, the Braves were at (15-16) and in third place in the National League East and the Marlins were sitting at an MLB-worst (9-21). Atlanta had been struggling to say the least and the series in Miami would be the perfect way for them to get motivation back and get back on track. Sunday, the Braves had already won the series but were competing for the three-game sweep of the Fish. Julio Teheran looked masterful on Sunday, as he tossed six innings of two hit, shutout baseball. Once Teheran exited, the ball was handed over to Dan Winkler, part of a Braves bullpen that seems to be on their way to getting back to form. Winkler pitched one inning without giving up a run. Jerry Blevins then came on for the Braves and tossed a third of an inning without giving up a run. Josh Tomlin allowed one run over an inning and two-thirds tying the ballgame at one. Nick Markakis previously homered to give the Braves a lead late. After Tomlin’s appearance, Luke Jackson came on and slammed the door on the Fish and the series. Will Holland got the win and improved to (1-0), Tayron Guerrero was slapped with a loss and fell to (1-1) and Luke Jackson was credited with the save, his second save of the season.
Atlanta is now (18-16) on the year and in second place in the NL East. Miami fell to (9-24) and remains in the cellar of the NL East.
Up next: The 10-game road trip continues with three games at Dodger Stadium tonight at 9:10pm CT. Kevin Gausman (1-2, 4.83) will take the hill for the Braves against LA’s Walker Buehler (3-0, 5.22).