The Atlanta Braves introduced a pleasant shock to the followers gathering at Truist Park for the opener of their essential weekend collection towards the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ozzie Albies, slightly second baseman with a giant bat, is again after lacking 95 days with a foot fractured whereas batting on a moist area June 13.
The 5-8, 165-pound switch-hitter had been hitting nicely throughout a rehab task at Triple-A Gwinnett, the place he had a 5-for-5 evening that included a game-winning dwelling run. In one other sport, he legged out a two-run triple, indicating his foot had healed.
With virtually the whole Atlanta lineup ensnared in a collective stoop, Albies is predicted to offer energy, pace, and protection – all points that sabotaged the membership’s just-concluded West Coast street journey.
Needing each win to maintain tempo with the New York Mets in a scorching Nationwide League East title chase, the Braves went solely 4-4 towards Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland.
That left them one sport behind the Mets as play began Friday. Each groups have 19 video games left, together with three towards one another in Atlanta.
Albies, 25, is coming off his greatest season. He had profession peaks in 2021 with 30 dwelling runs, 106 runs batted in, and 20 stolen bases a yr in the past.
Recognized for his enthusiasm plus a capability to talk 4 languages, the Curacao native is the very best pal of Ronald Acuña Jr., a Venezuelan outfielder who has struggled this season after coming back from a torn ACL in late April.
Acuña, 24, has skilled main dips in energy and common this yr whereas batting on the high of the lineup.
With Albies again, Braves supervisor Brian Snitker has an infield overload, since 21-year-old rookie Vaughn Grissom, up from Double-A, has been sensational at second after shifting from shortstop, the place he performed within the minors.
Grissom may play left area, the place Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna have fashioned an erratic left-right platoon, and has been shagging flies throughout batting observe.
It’s additionally attainable Albies or Grissom might be used as a delegated hitter, although back-up catcher William Contreras has completed so nicely in that position that he made the Nationwide League All-Star workforce. Acuña has additionally performed there to present his painful knee a relaxation.
Snitker may determine to relaxation slumping first baseman Matt Olson, a left-handed hitter, by transferring third baseman Austin Riley throughout the diamond and making an attempt Grissom at third. The Phils plan to start out left-handed pitcher Ranger Suarez Friday evening.
Olson, Riley, and shortstop Dansby Swanson have performed just about day-after-day this season however all are displaying indicators of damage – not unusual in mid-September even for high gamers.
Because the Braves are in search of their fifth straight NL East crown and hope to retain the world championship they received final yr, over-anxious athletes might be feeling extra stress because the calendar counts all the way down to the postseason.
Atlanta performs Philadelphia seven occasions beginning tonight because the Phils hope to land a playoff spot for the primary time since 2011.
The arrival of Albies and his cheerful disposition ought to assist preserve the Braves free within the dugout and the clubhouse. However his bat ought to assist too: three years in the past, he led the Nationwide League with 189 hits.
If contract choices are exercised, Albies might be in Atlanta via 2027. He signed a seven-year, $35 million contract on April 11, 2019. The pact incorporates two membership choices price $7 million every with a $4 million buyout.