They beat up on teams including the Athletics and Nationals, but games at this level are not easy. The Braves needed to get on a roll and did.
2. Ian Anderson on Sunday logged his longest and best start of the season as he shut out the Cubs over 6 ⅔ innings. He allowed only three hits.
He hinted at something for the future.
“When you only have three pitches, you need to use all three, and that’s something that we tried to hone in,” Anderson said. “We knew we weren’t going to get as many outs with the curveball as the other two, but you have to keep it in the mix just to keep guys honest. So you’ll probably see some of that more going forward.”
Anderson felt he got away from the curveball in Washington, where he hurled 13 of them. He then threw 18 in Sunday’s start, though he went deeper into the game versus the Cubs than he did against the Nationals.
3. Now Michael Harris is settled. It might be best to consider this his first real road trip because the Braves called him up a day before they left for Phoenix and Denver.
Over this road trip, Harris went 9-for-24 with a double, three home runs and seven RBIs.
“It was a lot better,” Harris said. “I feel more comfortable. Putting together better at-bats and just hitting the ball hard. Going out there, trying to have fun and win games for the team.”
Another positive for the Braves: Matt Olson doubled three times in Sunday’s win. He leads baseball with 27 doubles this season, four more than the second-place batter.
“He had a really good series,” Snitker said. “He hit some balls into the teeth of the wind. He’d have had a monster series if we’d have played (with the conditions of) today the last two days. He hit some balls really, really well.”
4. The Braves on Sunday saw somewhat of a rarity in the modern-day game.
Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks has never been a flamethrower, but now he’s 32 years old. In Sunday’s game, his four-seam fastball averaged 86 mph. His sinker hit 88 mph.
“My first time up, I knew he was more of a finesse pitcher,” Harris said. “I went up there and everything was slower than I even thought. It made me focus on my approach even more.”
The Braves scored six runs on eight hits – six of them extra-base hits – over 4 ⅓ innings versus Hendricks. Before this, they had hung seven earned runs on him in each of their previous two meetings with the righty.
In an era of velocity, Hendricks is an oddity.
5. Now the Braves play seven home games – four versus the Giants, three versus the Dodgers. Those opponents present difficult challenges the Braves didn’t see much in this recent stretch.
The main one: talent. Those rosters are much better than those the Braves have faced. But the Braves have the talent and depth to match anyone in baseball.
“It’s a tough stretch, but everybody goes through it,” Snitker said. “I think we did a good job in the last stretch of beating the teams you’re supposed to beat, and that’s not easy to do. That’s really hard to do.”
Added Harris: “Those are definitely tough teams that we have coming up. We really can’t change anything. Just do what we’ve been doing – attacking the baseball, doing the right things, just playing good, situational baseball and trying to get dubs.”
Braves 6, Cubs 0 (box score)
Stat to know
5.5 – The Braves are 5.5 games back of the Mets in the NL East standings.
“It’s going to be fun. Obviously, these next two series are going to be big. This was a good road trip. We lost the first two here, so that was a big emphasis to try to get it done today to kind of put a cap on what was a good trip. Now we get to go home and hopefully we’re as hot as the weather – it’s going to be hot.” –Anderson on the state of the Braves
In Monday’s series opener versus San Francisco, Max Fried faces Logan Webb. The game begins at 7:20 p.m.