If the Braves’ Friday evening series opener against the Texas Rangers proved anything, it’s that the Braves’ lineup is dangerous no matter who is at the plate.

In a lineup featuring sluggers Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson and Marcell Ozuna, catcher Travis d’Arnaud provided the firepower in Friday’s 8-3 win, as he blasted three home runs – including a sixth-inning grand slam that put the game out of reach for the reigning World Series-champion Rangers.

“I felt like I was 115 pounds running the bases,” D’Arnaud said of his grand slam after Friday’s win. “I was trying to hold in my smile a little bit until I hit home plate. It’s surreal. I hope every baseball player gets to feel that.”

After Braves catcher Sean Murphy went on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 1 oblique strain on opening day, d’Arnaud has been thrust into the mostly full-time job, as he’s played in 16 of the Braves’ 19 games this season.

Murphy is one of three key Braves players who is sidelined as Ozzie Albies (toe fracture), and Spencer Strider (UCL) are on the injured list.

“That’s one thing about this club, they don’t give in to the ‘Woe is me’ type of thing when we lose somebody,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We lost three All-Stars. It’s been like that for a while here. We just keep going and making it happen. Guys don’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves. It’s kind of (a) next man up (mentality).”

Michael Harris II hit eighth, in front of d’Arnaud, on Friday. Harris, who went 2-for-4 with a home run on the evening, isn’t surprised by the Braves’ ability to hit one through nine.

“It’s just a different person every night,” Harris II said. “I guess after that first at-bat you get a chance to figure out whose night it is, and (Friday) that was definitely Travis’ night.”

Infielder David Fletcher was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday following the Albies injury. Fletcher, who was drafted by the Angels in 2015, reflected on his new team’s firepower.

“It’s an unbelievable lineup,” Fletcher said. “Like you saw yesterday, any guy on any day can do that to you. It’s been awesome for me to see this up close and be a part of it.”

Fletcher, the nine-hole hitter Friday, had a good view of d’Arnaud’s three homers.

“I was actually on deck for all three of them, and I probably had the best seat in the house,” Fletcher said. “It was pretty shocking. The stadium erupted on the grand slam.”

Tromp time

Speaking of next man up, backup catcher Chadwick Tromp already has played in as many games (six) in 2024 as he did in all of 2023. Though his offensive numbers don’t stand out (.634 OPS), Tromp’s job is to share the workload with d’Arnaud.

“I want to beware of not beating Travis up in Murph’s absence,” Snitker said. “It will probably be an every third day-type thing. We’re fortunate to have two guys like Travis and Murph. When you have somebody that can fill in like Tromp can, it’s really good. He’s really good. I don’t think he gets enough credit. He’s got a great feel at pitch-calling and blocking and receiving. Guys love throwing to him.”

Snitker said Tromp likely will catch for starting pitcher Darius Vines on Sunday.

Albies ‘walking good’

The injured second baseman, Albies, who broke his toe after being hit by a pitch in Monday’s 6-1 win over the Astros, was seen walking around the Braves’ clubhouse without much of a limp before Saturday’s contest against the Rangers.

“It’s very encouraging, how he’s feeling and everything,” Snitker said. “I haven’t talked to (head athletic trainer) George (Poulis) about what the next step is or anything like that. It’s just good to see that he’s not in a boot and all that. He’s walking good, and I’m sure he’ll start activity sooner than later.”

More like Matzek

Braves reliever Tyler Matzek, who is known in Atlanta as a 2021 postseason superstar, missed all of 2023 after undergoing Tommy John surgery following a UCL tear in late 2022.

In his seven innings pitched this season, Matzek has posted a 6.43 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP and eight strikeouts. He’s allowed five earned runs on nine hits and he’s walked two. Matzek pitched a scoreless inning in Friday’s win over Texas and earned his third hold of the season in a scoreless seventh Tuesday in Houston.

“I thought the outing in Houston was really encouraging as was that outing (Friday),” Snitker said. “Leaving spring training he wasn’t where he wanted to be, and I don’t think you can expect it to be. I think he’ll get better. We’re going to have to keep using him and just get him out there. The last couple of times have been really encouraging to see the tick (upward) in all of his stuff and what he can mean for this bullpen.”