Matt Olson, Spencer Strider power Atlanta past Washington for a 7-1 win

Apr 1, 2023 - 10:27 PM
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Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

The Braves entered Saturday’s game 1-0 and with a very favorable matchup against a bad Nationals team with a bad starting pitcher and Spencer Strider on the mound.

It did not take long for this advantage to pay dividends, as Ronald Acuna hit a lead-off home run on an 0-2 pitch and Matt Olson followed with a homer of his own. Ronald’s was a true line drive homer, while Olson’s was a towering moonshot, with respective launch angles of 20 and 41 degrees.

Meanwhile, Spencer Strider was looking a lot like Spencer Strider early in the game, striking out five of the first six batters he faced, after a long 10 pitch battle with the leadoff hitter.

The next important moment in the game came in the third inning, as Orlando Arcia reached base courtesy of another CJ Abrams error, was sent to third on an Austin Riley bullet single, and scored on a wild pitch that walked Ozzie Albies (Ozzie walk!). Michael Harris followed with an opposite field single of his own to score Austin.

Spencer ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom third, with a double that Michael got under but saw bounce off his glove and a walk, but he got a double-play to escape the inning scoreless. Marcell Ozuna turned around and blasted a deep homer in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-0.

Spencer continued to allow a little traffic in the fourth, fifth, and sixth, but never let a run come around and ended his day with 6.0 innings pitched, 9 strikeouts, 3 walks, and 0 runs allowed, needing 96 pitches. That is certainly a good start to the regular season for the Braves’ young star pitcher.

The Braves’ offense got back to some fun in the seventh as Orlando Arcia singled to lead off the inning. Ronald Acuna nearly hit an opposite field extra-base-hit on a ball with a .670 xBA, but Lane Thomas made an acrobatic grab at the wall to rob him. Matt Olson was annoyed at this robbery, however, and deposited a ball over the left center-field wall for his second homer of the night, putting the Braves up 7-0.

Nick Anderson was first out of the bullpen in relief of Strider and he was lights out, quickly getting a nasty strikeout and two flyouts, getting three whiffs on the seven curveballs he threw. After a quiet eighth from the offense, Joe Jimenez made his own Atlanta debut and earned essentially the same result as Anderson. Orlando Arcia collected his third hit of the day as the Braves’ only baserunner of the ninth for Atlanta. Kirby Yates was given the ball to finish the game and did allow a one-out solo homer that just snuck fair to break the shutout.

Join us again for game 3 against Washington at 1:05 PM ET.

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