680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – As we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2020 season, now just eight days from now in New York, the Braves continue to ramp up the intensity level of their daily activities at Truist Park. For the better part of the last week, the club has held daily intrasquad scrimmages, but don’t think these guys are simply going through the motions. While some of the rules don’t necessarily resemble a real game, the team is doing its best to replicate the energy and adrenaline everyone will experience next week to start this 60 game sprint.
On Wednesday night, Ronald Acuna, who’s bat has been heating up, stretched a routine single up the middle into a double. Ozzie Albies has been seen making diving plays in the field to the surprise of nobody. And on Thursday afternoon, Travis d’Arnaud kept up his solid camp with another two run blast to center off Patrick Weigel. When the Braves inked d’Arnaud to a two year deal this offseason, one of the major selling points for Alex Anthopoulos and company was the fact he had power to all fields. At Chop Fest in January, Travis told me a big key for him getting back on track was being reunited with Chad Mottola, hitting coach in Tampa, whom he also worked with at Triple-A during his time in the Jays organization.
Even without Freddie Freeman’s presence to this point in Summer Camp, the Braves offense appears to be peaking at the right time. Dansby Swanson has a pair of doubles in his last two at bats, and Austin Riley continues to cut down on the strikeouts and find ways to get on base. Without Freeman, guys will need to step up. And while it’s just intrasquad scrimmages to this point, it appears as though the Atlanta offense is starting to heat up at just the right time. And, they’ll need to with the challenge looming of having to face teams like the Mets, Rays, Yankees, Phillies and others in the first 20 game stretch to start the year without so much as a day off.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.