For one night, Braves’ offense rediscovered itself in a big way

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The relentless crackling noise heard Wednesday evening in Cobb County wasn’t just thunder. The Braves’ bats finally struck an opposing pitching staff.

It was a timely awakening: The Braves blew their series opener against the Mets Tuesday, squandering a 3-0 lead in a loss. A day later, they built a lead no bullpen could waste.

The Braves scored seven runs in the fourth inning, six runs in the eighth and a handful more in a 20-2 walloping of the Mets. It was nine innings of relief for the Braves, whose offensive struggles over the past two weeks can’t be understated.

Before Wednesday, the Braves scored less than four runs in 10 of their last 11 games (they scored four in the outlier contest). They were averaging 2.27 runs over that span. They hit 9-for-61 with runners in scoring position. It was the most dreadful offensive stretch in recent Braves history.

The Braves unleashed their frustrations against Mets starter David Peterson and reliever Sean Reid-Foley, striking the pair with a flurry of well-placed hits. The team wasn’t even smashing the ball during its big fourth; it was more death by a thousand cuts for the Mets.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

And about those runners in scoring position: The Braves were 9-for-16 in such situations Wednesday.

“Guys are up there, when they’re not doing it, they’re pressing,” manager Brian Snitker said. “They’re trying to do too much. Then when one guy does (something), it’s amazing how it relaxes everybody and how it goes. I can’t explain it, but it’s usually the way those things happen, especially two-out hits. One guy gets it, and for whatever reason – it’s the mindset. It’s not mechanical. It’s just a mindset.”

Second baseman Ozzie Albies closed his mammoth June with a five-hit, two-homer, seven-RBI performance. First baseman Freddie Freeman had three hits, an accomplishment surprisingly rare for the reigning MVP this season. Third baseman Austin Riley also had three hits. Altogether, the team had 20.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

“It’s special,” Albies said. “It was great for us. It’s been frustrating before, but the bats can have a night like this and turn everything around. It’s pretty special for the whole team.”

Will the offensive outburst mean much moving forward? History says no. And history didn’t even have Jacob deGrom starting Thursday, as the Mets do. But the Braves at least snapped a prolonged cold spell and positioned themselves to potentially win a series over the Mets for the first time this season.

Braves 20, Mets 2 (box score)

If there’s one bright spot in the last few weeks, it’s that the Braves haven’t fallen out of the race. They’ve dropped 12 of 21, yet they’ve only lost 1-1/2 games in the standings over that span. They’ll enter play Thursday 4-1/2 games behind the Mets (and 2-1/2 games behind the surging Nationals, who’ve won 14 of 17).

It’s not ideal, but all things considered, it could be worse. The problem is that’s becoming somewhat a motto for the 2021 Braves. Eventually, missed opportunities add up and time runs out.

But at least for one night, they reminded the home fans how potent the offense can be.