Braves pressing on through longest stretch of season without an off-day

CINCINNATI – The Braves’ current stretch – 20 games in 20 days – is their longest of the season without a day off.

“Good,” manager Brian Snitker said.

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The run began with Tuesday’s series opener in Philadelphia and will take the Braves to the All-Star break. The team has won two of three games to start this string of contests, and now play a weekend series in Cincinnati before returning home for a 10-game homestand versus the Cardinals, Nationals and Mets.

So, how will Snitker keep his players fresh during this stretch?

“You don’t,” he said. “They’re not going to be fresh. They’re going to be tired and wore out by the time it’s over, and they’re going to need a four-day All-Star break, honestly.”

The Braves opened this season with 14 consecutive games before their first off-day. Last season, their longest stretch was a string of 17 consecutive contests coming out of the All-Star break, though the team didn’t play on 17 consecutive days because its July 20 game was postponed because of rain. Last season, the Braves’ longest run of contests without an off-day was 13 consecutive games.

Following the All-Star break, the Braves’ longest stretch of games without an off-day is 14. So from that perspective, it won’t get tougher than it is now.

The Braves rolled to a 21-6 record in June. They have put themselves in position to eye a fifth consecutive division title in the coming months.

They probably can’t look that far ahead, though.

“We’re not going into today looking to have a great month, we’re looking to win a series,” Snitker said. “I think you have to stay more short term than all that. A lot of times, you’re talking about playing 20 in a row. That’s where you can start some really good things a lot of the times, too, is when you’re playing every day and every day’s the same. You just wake up, and they do the same thing every day.”

Anderson’s best friend traded

Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson and former Hawks shooting guard Kevin Huerter have been best friends since childhood. They both grew up in Clifton Park, New York, and attended Shenendehowa High School. Then they both played in Atlanta in their respective sports.

Until now.

The Hawks on Friday traded Huerter to the Kings.

“I haven’t talked to him,” Anderson said in the visiting clubhouse. “I don’t know what he’s feeling, but it’s part of the business.”

Anderson said he and Dansby Swanson, a Hawks fan, were talking about the team. Swanson said he thought Bogdan Bogdanovic would be the next Hawk to be traded. And around that time, the team dealt Huerter to Sacramento.

“I’m sure when you see they bring in (Dejounte) Murray, you’re probably excited to play with him and then you’re like, ‘Oh, well maybe he’s taking my spot,’” Anderson said. “It’s probably a little tough. But I’m sure he’s excited about it.”

Anderson and Huerter don’t see one another often anymore. Huerter goes back to New York to host basketball camps during his offseasons. But the two still remain in touch by texting.

“I’m sure he probably gets some more playing time over there,” Anderson said of his longtime buddy.

Acuña returns

After missing four games with a bruised left foot, Ronald Acuña on Friday returned to the Braves’ lineup. He was the club’s leadoff man and its designated hitter.

“They worked him out (Thursday), did some defensive drills and ran him around,” Snitker said. “That was the big thing. It’s always the next day – how guys come in – and he obviously came in real good, so it’ll be good to get him back in there.”

In Friday’s 9-1 win over the Reds, Acuña went 2-for-3. He was hit by two pitches and scored two runs.

Snitker said he hopes to put Acuña in the outfield for Saturday’s game.

Braves acquire Bracho

The Braves on Thursday acquired righty Silvino Bracho from the Red Sox for cash.

Asked what he knows about Bracho, Snitker said: “I don’t know anything about him. First time I’ve ever seen him or heard of him.”

The 29-year-old Bracho appeared in 18 games for Triple-A Worcester this season. He posted a 3.16 ERA over 31-1/3 innings. He made one start. Bracho, who is from Venezuela, struck out 36 batters and walked four.

Could he be a guy who can go multiple innings?

“I don’t know that he’s been multiple (innings) in a while,” Snitker said. “He might have to.”

Bracho hasn’t thrown more than one inning in a major-league season since 2018. He has pitched in parts of five seasons, all with Arizona.

The Braves on Friday optioned righty Jesus Cruz to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Bracho. Cruz on Thursday threw a season-high 55 pitches in a blowout.