Last year, he hit the reset button. He spent most of the season in Triple-A, tweaking anything necessary. “Then I feel like when I really started making changes, that’s when I started to kind of believe in myself again and believe in myself, and here we are,” Wright said after becoming the first Braves pitcher to win 20 games in a season since Russ Ortiz won 21 games in 2003.
Wright, who entered this season with two wins in his career, leads MLB in wins – by three. His is an incredible story. This might be only the beginning for the Braves’ 2017 first-round draft pick.
“I’m so happy for him,” manager Brian Snitker said. “So proud of him.”
After the game, Snitker talked to Wright about the right-hander’s journey.
The message: “Just think where you were a year ago today. Now you’re a 20-game winner.”
2. When he addressed reporters after his team’s win, Snitker pointed toward his desk. His scorecard from the game sat on it.
He wanted to authenticate it before having Wright sign it. Wright is Snitker’s first 20-game winner as a major-league manager.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been this happy for somebody over an accomplishment in a long, long, long time,” Snitker said.
Since the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, only six other Braves have won 20 games in a season: Tom Glavine (five times), Phil Niekro (three), Denny Neagle (one), John Smoltz (one), Greg Maddux (one) and Ortiz (one).
Wright joins them, and he has a 3.18 ERA. On Saturday, Wright took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished having allowed two runs – both on a Bryce Harper homer – over 5-1/3 frames.
“It’s pretty cool,” Wright said of winning 20 games. “I don’t know if I really realized how cool it was until all the teammates and coaches congratulated me real quick. It’s special. I’ll say it again: It’s kind of a team stat. I couldn’t do it without these guys, if they’re not scoring, playing defense.”
Wright is a poster child for development. He proves players are never finished products.
“His journey has been something else,” Snitker said. “(He will) be a great sounding board down the road for that next young guy that comes up, and he can go up and nuzzle up to him, and you know, it’s like, ‘I’ve been there and done that, and look what I’m doing.’ I couldn’t be more happy for somebody. Just tickled to death for him.”
Braves 6, Phillies 3 (box score)
3. The Braves’ offense – the one that was quiet for a few days – had six runs on 12 hits before the Phillies even notched their first hit of the game. The Braves needed this – badly.
Vaughn Grissom’s second-inning base hit scored the Braves’ first run, giving them their first lead since Wednesday. In the third, William Contreras blasted his 20th home run of the season.
The Braves’ four-run fourth inning proved to be the difference. In it, Michael Harris hit a two-run shot for his 19th homer of the season. Dansby Swanson and Contreras then added run-scoring singles.
4. In a three-run game in the bottom of the seventh inning, Rhys Hoskins lined a ball that went just foul. It would have been a game-tying homer.
Two pitches later, Minter struck out Hoskins with a perfectly executed 98 mph fastball away to end the inning. Minter then pitched a clean eighth to set up Kenley Jansen for the save.
“It’s a shame that there’s not an award or something for a guy like that, because he’s been so special for us,” Snitker said of Minter.
5. Saturday continued to prove a point: The National League East race is not over. Next weekend’s series between the Braves and Mets at Truist Park likely will go a long way in deciding the outcome.
Anything can happen in baseball, and Saturday, Oakland – one of baseball’s worst offenses – lit up ace Jacob deGrom and the Mets. The Braves took care of business in Philadelphia.
The Braves’ deficit is 1-1/2 games.
Stat to know
23-6 - The Braves are 23-6 in games started by Wright this season.
“The more it’s sinking in that I did win 20 games, I think I’m starting to appreciate it even more.” - Wright
On Sunday, the Braves’ Charlie Morton will face Philadelphia’s Kyle Gibson in a series finale that begins at 1:05 p.m.