The Braves and Padres played a back-and-forth series with three exciting games. With Sunday’s 7-3 loss, Atlanta dropped two of three games.
Here are five observations:
1. The Braves on Sunday received another reminder of a lesson they already knew: It is difficult to beat talented teams when mistakes pile up throughout a game.
“It’s hard,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Like we saw, you can’t give teams more than three outs. You’ll get hurt.”
In Saturday’s win, the Braves allowed four unearned runs. In Sunday’s loss, a run scored because of Matt Olson’s error. Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson made errors that set up the Padres to score runs.
Errors are not usually an issue for the Braves, who have one of baseball’s top infields. They entered Sunday with 15 errors, which was the eighth-best mark in baseball. They committed three in their series-ending loss.
“You want to not make those mistakes,” Olson said.
2. Kyle Wright, who started Sunday’s series finale, said it best.
“I think being able to find a way to close those games out is really what’s kind of stopping us right now,” he said after the loss.
The Braves are 16-19. They have been inconsistent offensively, but have put together explosive innings and games that tell you they’re the same offense they’ve always been. They are getting good starting pitching. The bullpen has been up and down.
They are talented, but they cannot afford to give away games against good teams. Their bullpen faltered in one game, and their defense did in the other two (though they won one of those contests). They didn’t score after the fourth inning in the series finale.
They made too many mistakes in the series versus the Padres.
“We just need to just tighten a few things up,” Olson said. “Those guys keep throwing and guys keep putting together some at-bats, and get on a winning track here.”
The Braves have the pieces to contend again. They have experience. Everything is there, but they must close out games like Sunday’s loss.
“You learn a lot from it at this point,” Wright said. “It’s going to help down the year, for sure.”
3. Olson has won two Gold Glove Awards. As you can imagine, he doesn’t commit many errors.
He made an error in each of the series’ final two games. This weekend marked only the fourth time that Olson has committed errors on back-to-back days in a career that began in 2016. He has three this season and has never made more than eight in a year.
Riley also made errors on back-to-back days to close the series. And perhaps most surprising of all, shortstop Dansby Swanson committed another (though Olson usually picks bounced throws like the one Swanson tossed to him).
“You’d like to win the series,” Olson said. “Had some uncharacteristic errors out there, myself included. Just things that we’re going to have to not do in the future if we want to start winning more games. A lot of season left, but stuff that led to some losses.”
4. After his Boston start, his worst of the season, Wright talked about trying to be too fine with his pitches. He believed it led to walks and damage.
He made an adjustment that helped him bounce back to pitch 6 ⅓ innings versus the Padres.
“Just kind of slowing myself down, and I feel like that kind of allowed me to not do too much,” he said. “Thinking a little bit more methodical about what I’m doing mechanically instead of just being in such a hurry to get rid of the ball. I think that took care of itself.”
Wright struck out nine Padres. He allowed three runs, but only one was earned because his defense let him down.
5. Ronald Acuña (groin soreness) felt better Sunday, Snitker said. He received treatment.
The Braves are unsure if he will play Monday, but Snitker said they haven’t yet considered placing the outfielder on the injured list.
“I think that’ll be the decision in the next couple of days if it looks like he’s going to need more time,” Snitker said.
The Braves have been able to buy themselves some time because pitchers no longer hit in the National League, which means a short bench isn’t as costly.
Padres 7, Braves 3 (box score)
Stat to know
16 – Over three games, the Braves and Padres combined to score 16 runs in the eighth inning or later.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times. It’s hard to do. It’s hard to give teams extra outs. We had opportunities, couldn’t kind of get anything going. … Hopefully eventually, this thing turns in our way and kind of starts flowing in our direction.” – Snitker on the series against San Diego
Right-hander Ian Anderson will start Monday’s series opener in Milwaukee. Righty Freddy Peralta will start for the Brewers.