Acquired from Kansas City at the trade deadline, Soler was a crucial part of the Braves’ remade outfield. While he was 1-for-11 in the NLDS, coaches and teammates laud his at-bats and the threat of his power, which eventually led Snitker to shift him into the leadoff spot.
Shortstop Dansby Swanson was moved into leadoff, doubling in the first inning. Joc Pederson handled center field in Soler’s absence, with Guillermo Heredia in center and Adam Duvall in left. Eddie Rosario had started instead of Pederson in the other three NLDS games.
Soler hit 14 homers with 33 RBIs in 55 games during his time with the Braves in the regular season.
“For a second, you’re just like, what else can happen to the Atlanta Braves this year,” Freeman said of learning Soler tested positive. “Seemed like everything that could go wrong had gone wrong, but we kept coming back, coming back. I think it was just so crazy and chaotic trying to figure out what was going on, him getting more tests done. We found out that he had to get more tests around (batting practice). When he came back in, next thing you know he’s gone. And 10 days and stuff like that. And we’re like, who is coming?
“You don’t have time to dwell on (the reality that you) just lost your leadoff hitter two hours before the first pitch. Dansby came in, made us all calm down when he hit the leadoff double. It’s tough. Jorge has been unbelievable for us in the last month or two. So it’s going to be tough to carry it over. But if we can keep going, hopefully he can get better and come back sooner rather than later.”