1. The Braves and Tigers played almost six hours of baseball on Wednesday.
“It’s a long day,” Michael Harris II said. “Eighteen innings is not fun by any means.”
“When you come out with a win, I guess it’s all worth it in the end,” he said. “We pulled through and did what we needed to win the series and sweep the doubleheader.”
The Braves overcame Spencer Strider’s rough start to win the first game, then did the same with Dylan Dodd’s tough outing in the second. Their offense scored enough. Their bullpen pitched well.
They left here happy.
“Especially when you were on the verge of a sweep, and you have things happen the other night,” said Jesse Chavez, who had an injury scare. “We’re glad that everybody came back, and we knew what was on hand. We’re never trying to win every game, we’re always trying to win the series. Because that’s what eventually happens at the end of the day. You got to win a series, not every game at the end of the year.”
2. In the second game, Ronald Acuña Jr. pulverized a baseball that went halfway up the ivy-covered batter’s eye, then hit it so hard that it fell back into play.
“That was pretty crazy,” Harris said. “I heard somebody say nobody’s hit it up there before. Honestly, I thought he was hitting it over the (batter’s eye).”
“I thought that ball was leaving the stadium, to be honest,” Dodd said, laughing. “I thought it was going over.”
It traveled an estimated 461 feet. It left the bat at 114.5 mph.
And it looked easier than it should have.
Acuña homered in each game of the doubleheader.
3. One star of Tuesday’s doubleheader: Collin McHugh. The Braves don’t win without him.
The Braves used five relievers – including their top arms – in the first victory. They needed Dodd to go as deep as he could in the second game.
He went only four innings as he allowed five runs.
But McHugh then pitched three scoreless innings to keep the game tied. Eddie Rosario hit a go-ahead solo homer in the sixth.
“The bullpen is a strange place,” McHugh said. “We talk about it all the time: We’re a bunch of, some of us, failed starters – most of us, failed starters – or lifers down there. For us, I think we take a lot of pride in being able to do a lot of different things. …I’ve been really proud of this ‘pen and what we’ve been able to do this year with some injuries and never really being at full strength since the beginning of the season.”
After McHugh, Jiménez held the Tigers scoreless over 1 2/3 innings before A.J. Minter got the final out.
4. In Game 1, the Braves found themselves in an early four-run hole.
Their response: Seven unanswered runs – two in the third inning, five in the fourth.
In the third inning, Acuña blasted the first of his two no-doubters in the doubleheader. It cut the lead in half.
In the fourth, Eddie Rosario and Ozzie Albies drew back-to-back, one-out walks to begin the rally. Then Atlanta took advantage of two Detroit errors mixed into a flurry of hits. The big one: A two-run double from the resurgent Michael Harris II, who went 4-for-4 with four RBIs in the first game.
The Braves eventually built a five run lead en route to victory.
5. After Strider’s afternoon ended, the Bally Sports cameras showed him sitting on the dugout bench, with manager Brian Snitker right in front of him. Snitker was delivering a message to his 24-year-old starter.
The message: “The eight guys behind you have all been through it, too. (You’re) going to go through it. It’s not going to be smooth sailing all the time. You’re going to navigate rough waters, and keep fighting the fight. You’ll come out of it if you give yourself a chance.”
Strider is struggling. After allowing eight earned runs against the Mets, he surrendered five over five innings against the Tigers.
In this game, rough patches are inevitable.
And despite Strider’s rocky outing, in which he served up three homers, the Braves still won.
“Guys struggle, and I’ve gotta stay committed to what I’m doing,” Strider said of Snitker’s message to him.
But the Braves still won that game, then the next one.
Stat to know
454 - Six of Acuña’s 15 home runs have traveled at least 454 feet.
“They did a great job. Great job. Because (a doubleheader) always stretches your pitching. But the guys, the bullpen, did a really good job today. And it’s good. I don’t care what it is: When you win a doubleheader, that’s something big.”-Snitker on sweeping the doubleheader
AJ Smith-Shawver will start Thursday’s series opener versus the Rockies at Truist Park. First pitch is at 7:20 p.m.