5 takeaways after Braves lose to Astros in Game 2

10/27/21 - Houston - Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried, left, is removed from the mound by manager Brian Snitker during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game 2 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park, Wednesday October 27, 2021, in Houston, Tx. Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com
Caption
10/27/21 - Houston - Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried, left, is removed from the mound by manager Brian Snitker during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game 2 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park, Wednesday October 27, 2021, in Houston, Tx. Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

HOUSTON – The Braves lost to the Astros 7-2 in Game 2 of the World Series in Houston. The series is tied 1-1.

Here are five takeaways from Wednesday:

1. The Braves unraveled in the second inning, when the Astros scored four runs on five singles and an error. Only one of those hits had an exit velocity over 100 mph. One of them was an awkwardly placed ball from Jose Siri that resulted in an infield hit.

Left fielder Eddie Rosario made a gaffe when he fielded a single by Martin Maldonado and fired to nobody at third base. The ball rolled to the backstop, allowing Houston to score another run and putting Maldonado at second. He later scored.

“I’m not happy about it,” Fried said. “Playoffs is a big momentum game. You got to do everything you can to keep the crooked number off the scoreboard. At the end of the day, they put up four runs in that inning. You need to do better next time, just making pitches, getting out of it.”

ExploreGame 2 at a glance: The key plays and players

Fried didn’t necessarily pitch poorly in that inning. The Astros found the perfect spots, and Rosario’s error loomed large.

“I’m having a hard time convincing myself that he struggled,” manager Brian Snitker said of Fried. “The first inning, they did some really good hitting (and scored a run). The second inning, when they scored, it was kind of a weird inning, you know what I mean? It wasn’t like he was getting banged around. Balls that found holes, checked swings, we threw a ball away. It was just a weird inning.”

2. Rosario’s miscue was the first of two Braves errors Wednesday. Second baseman Ozzie Albies also botched a double-play attempt, fumbling the ball on an exchange, in the sixth. After committing only one error in their first 10 postseason games, the Braves have made three errors across two World Series contests.

“Not at all,” manager Brian Snitker said when asked if he was worried. “It happens. Over the course of 162 games we just played and how good these guys are defensively, it doesn’t worry me a bit.”

3. Fried moved past the second-inning madness by retiring 10 consecutive Astros. He left in the sixth after a walk and single. Fried covering five innings and sparing the bullpen was important, especially with how taxed the group will be in the coming games, but it was still another disappointing start. He surrendered six runs (five earned) on seven hits in five innings.

In his past two outings, Fried has allowed 10 runs on 15 hits in 9-2/3 innings. Those are the only two games the Braves have lost by more than one run this postseason.

4. Dylan Lee and Kyle Wright impressed in their first World Series appearances. Lee, pitching the sixth, overcame Albies’ error to record two outs, including striking out Siri with two runners on base.

Wright struck out the side in the eighth. He struck out Siri, Martin Maldonado and Jose Altuve on 12 pitches. It was Wright’s first major league appearance since June 23.

“He did a tremendous job,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “He was locating. His sinker was moving a lot. His curveball was moving a lot. He did a tremendous job. When I caught him in a rehab game for me, he looked exactly the same as he did that day. It was fun working with him, and it was great seeing him have success today, especially in the World Series.”

Wright will be an important part of the Braves moving forward. They’re shorthanded without injured starter Charlie Morton, which will force them to use consecutive bullpen games in Game 4 and Game 5. Expect Wright to play a role in that time.

5. Despite the loss, the Braves shifted the series in their favor by splitting the two games in Houston. The World Series moves to Atlanta for the next three games, beginning Friday. The Braves would, of course, win the World Series if they take each of those home games. They’re 5-0 at home this postseason and have won 10 of their past 11 at Truist Park.

“The atmosphere is awesome (at home),” Snitker said. “Braves Country is real. That’s why I think it was so important to split here. You want to win two, but if you can split and get out of here and go home where we’ve been really good, that’s a positive hat we’re going home on tomorrow.”

Astros 7, Braves 2 (box score)

Stat to know

30-11 (The Braves dropped to 30-11 in Game 2s. They had won 14 of their past 15 Game 2s, dating to 2001, entering the night.)

Quotable

“Those guys are going to have to play a big part in this.” – Snitker on Lee and Wright

Short rest

Fried confirmed he’s open to pitching on short rest if the series requires it. “We’ll see how I feel over the next couple days, but not against it,” he said.

Up next

The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3. The 23-year-old Ian Anderson will start for the Braves against 24-year-old Astros right-hander Luis Garcia.

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