1. This is the latest example of how special this era of Braves baseball has become: This season and last mark the first time the club has won 100 games in back-to-back seasons since 2002 (101 wins) and 2003 (101).
It had been two decades.
“A lot of things we’re doing are really hard,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s taken the whole room in there, that’s for sure, to make something like that happen. And you know what, it’s a good feeling to know that you’ve done that.”
It feels like the Braves are accomplishing something almost daily. They keep adding chapters to this book – one that will be appreciated for a long time.
It’s difficult to win 100 games. To do it in two straight years? This shouldn’t be taken for granted.
“This whole organization, I think, is something to marvel at, for sure,” Spencer Strider said. “It’s not like it’s just been 26 guys, either. It’s been a whole group. There’s been a lot of adversity that’s been faced as well. It speaks to the whole organization, and their commitment to winning and being successful, and their ability to develop guys that can do that.”
The 2023 Braves, who have six games remaining, must win all of them to tie the 1998 team for the record for wins in a season (106).
2. In the first game of the doubleheader, Kyle Wright pitched out of the bullpen in what might have been a precursor for the postseason. Wright allowed one run over three innings.
Is pitching out of the bullpen in October a realistic possibility for Wright?
“‘Who knows?’ I guess, really, is the right answer,” the right-hander said. “But I still believe in myself. I know the results have been a little tough, but I was really happy with the way I threw the ball today. …I think (pitching out of the bullpen in the postseason) is definitely a possibility. I’ve done it before, and have pitched pretty well. I’m open to anything. And whatever role I can do to help us win, that’s what I want to do.”
Sunday marked the first time Wright pitched out of the bullpen since the 2021 World Series, when he did it twice. (He followed an opener in one of those games.) His last regular-season relief appearance was in 2019.
Since returning from the injured list, Wright has given up 11 earned runs over 10 innings.
“I think just continue to be sharp and crisp, and trust my mechanics, trust my stuff,” Wright said when asked what he wants to accomplish to feel good heading into the postseason. “I feel like that’s the main thing, is just getting reps. At some point, you want those results to continue to turn for the best, but I think the more reps I can get will be for the best.”
3. As the ball flew through the night, Forrest Wall tried to speak a moment into existence.
“I was thinking in my head, ‘Go, go, go,” he said.
The ball flew over the right-field wall for his first career home run. “Man, it was awesome,” Wall said.
What made it sweeter: He homered in his first career start. Snitker mentioned giving Wall the lineup card to frame. Wall has the special baseball. One day, he plans to put it in his mancave. For now, it’ll go somewhere safe.
The Rockies drafted Wall in 2014. He spent his entire career in the minors until Atlanta called him up this summer.
Sunday meant a lot to him.
“It’s everything,” Wall said. “It’s been a long time, and I’m so grateful that today, the organization trusted me and gave me the opportunity to start.”
4. In the second game, Matt Olson drove in a run for his 133rd RBI of the season, which gave him the Atlanta-era franchise record. (Olson surpassed Gary Sheffield, who drove in 132 runs in 2003).
With six games to play, Olson needs two RBIs to tie Eddie Mathews (135 RBI in 1953) for the single-season record.
Strider entered Sunday needing six strikeouts to tie John Smoltz for the most in a single season in modern-era (since 1900) Braves history (276). Strider struck out four Nationals, which sets him up to potentially tie and break the record at home in his final regular-season start.
5. Allan Winans permitted two runs over five innings in the first game. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in four of five big-league starts this season.
Two years ago, Dylan Lee and Tucker Davidson made starts in the World Series. Anything can happen.
Perhaps the Braves will need Allan Winans in the postseason.
“Pretty happy with it,” Winans said of what he’s done. “I think there’s a lot more I can show. Obviously, I would be pretty ecstatic about the opportunity. This is a really good team and being a part of this team in the crunch time of the season is obviously what you dream about.”
Stat to know
52-29 - The Braves went 52-29 on the road this season, which is the best mark in baseball. They fell a win shy of tying the 1993 club for the best road record in a single season.
“You don’t win 100 games – or however many we end up winning – with just 26 guys. If there’s anything that anybody should learn from this year and this team, it’s that it takes more than 26 guys, and it takes a whole organization. Hopefully that trend continues through the playoffs.”-Strider
Bryce Elder will face the Cubs’ Justin Steele on Tuesday. The game begins at 7:20 p.m.