“Besides that, and that is awesome, is watching these guys and how they come to play every day, how they prepare and how consistent they are regardless of their offense,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I have such great respect for all those guys because they come to play every day. The work ethic, consistency in what they do. To be honest with you, I was thinking this would be the first infield to have 30 (homers). I thought that’s what they were shooting for, not (becoming the second group with 25).”
- Veteran starter Tanner Roark, who was having a strong season in Triple-A Gwinnett, elected free agency. Roark, 34, had a 2.14 ERA across 24 games (including three starts and 46-1/3 innings total) with Gwinnett. Roark struck out 44 and walked 16.
The Braves didn’t promote Roark, however, when the opportunity arose. They recently put relievers Josh Tomlin and Chris Martin on the injured list. Rosters expanded by two spots on Sept. 1. But the Braves turned to pitchers Edgar Santana, Sean Newcomb and Jacob Webb instead of Roark.
Roark is the second veteran in the organization to elect free agency this weekend. Outfielder Abraham Almonte, who helped the club in a time of desperation earlier in the summer, opted for free agency instead of being outrighted to Triple-A after he was designated for assignment.
- Lefty Drew Smyly, moved to the bullpen at least temporarily, made his relief debut for the Braves during Saturday’s loss to the Rockies. Smyly recorded a perfect eighth inning, with Snitker describing his showing as “great.” The southpaw, who had a 6.08 ERA in five starts last month, could still make another start in the next week, Snitker said.
- Since their nine-game winning streak, the Braves were 3-8 entering Sunday. That includes getting swept by the Yankees (two games) and Dodgers (three games). They’ve lost several close games in that stretch, as shown by their -5 run differential over that time.
The Braves had played five consecutive one-run games entering Sunday, losing four of them.
“We play the same game every day,” Snitker said. “Credit to our guys for hanging around. It’s hard to do that. We’ve been real successful in a lot of (those stretches). Right now, we’re not. But we’re hanging in there. You weather these storms, fight through them, keep working. We’re putting ourselves in a position, and it can change just like that where all of a sudden you’re getting the big hit, you’re making the pitch.
“You go through those stretches. We went 9-0 on a road trip, it was great. Unbelievable that we did that. Then we knew coming in (the next stretch would be difficult). And we’ve had tough games since then. It’s baseball. We’re giving ourselves a chance to win every night. It doesn’t happen all the time but that’s the way it is. We keep fighting, we’ll come back out tomorrow and do it again.”