680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Sunday afternoon in Philly we saw history made, as the Braves played their first pair of seven inning doubleheader games. The top of the order stole the show as Ronald Acuna Jr and Freddie Freeman combined to go 11-for-16 in the two game sweep for Atlanta with four home runs. In Game One, it took the offense a little while to get going until they hung a five spot in the fifth inning, featuring the first of Acuna’s three homers on the day and a three run, bases clearing double off the bat of Adam Duvall. In the nightcap, Acuna picked up right where he left off in the first game, going 4-for-4 with a pair of bombs and three runs driven in. Freddie Freeman finished a single shy of the cycle in the seven inning affair and made good on a promise he made earlier in the day. His former roommate and teammate Jason Heyward was celebrating his 31st birthday, so Freddie promised he would hit him a home run. That promise was delivered in the top of the third to give Max Fried a two run cushion.
What was most interesting in watching the way these two games unfolded was the strategy employed by both managers. In game one, Huasar Ynoa was asked to get the plane off the ground. He did just that, responsible for one run over two and a third, working his way through the Phillies order once. Brian Snitker then went to his lockdown bullpen to record the final 13 outs of the game. We also saw a quick hook for Phillies starting left fielder Adam Haseley as he was hit for in the bottom of the third as Joe Girardi called on Andrew McCutchen with two runners on and one down, already leading by a run. In the fifth inning, Brian Snitker used a similar approach with the bases loaded and one out as Adam Duvall hit for Nick Markakis and ended up clearing the bases as part of a five run inning. These seven inning games are nothing new for Brian Snitker though, as his decades in the Minor Leagues certainly helped prepare him for what to expect going into yesterday’s action.
We knew it was only a matter of time until the top of the Atlanta order got things going. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman’s pre-season MVP pick can carry an offense, and Dansby Swanson has worked his way up to the second spot in the order with another strong start. And in the absence of Josh Donaldson, Marcell Ozuna has helped solidify the heart of the Atlanta order.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.