1. Champagne glasses – some empty, some half-empty – sat on a coffee table in the visitors’ clubhouse after Wednesday’s game. Less than 24 hours after they celebrated a fifth consecutive National League East title, the Braves recognized their regular-season accomplishments with a champagne toast.
The Braves went through a list of accomplishments – some individual, some team.
“Just a little reflection time to celebrate some stuff,” Matt Olson said. “Just a little acknowledgement of what guys have done this year, and I thought it was cool.”
The Braves are headed to the postseason – again. They hope to repeat as World Series champions. But first, they took a few minutes to talk about the incredible regular season they had just finished.
To reach the postseason, the Braves went on an unbelievable stretch of baseball: After the Braves fell to 23-27 with a loss in Arizona on May 31, they went 78-33 (not including Wednesday’s loss) to win the division again.
“I’m so proud of the group, how they hung in there,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Everybody withstands adversity in this sport. Nobody’s going to get through without injuries, without stuff going wrong. It’s just too long of a season. It’s how some teams handle it and come out of it, and these guys did. It’s a really impressive group.”
2. The Braves engaged in – and won – an exciting division race. They expended tons of physical and emotional energy to win their fifth consecutive division title.
Their reward is a full five days of rest compared to the wild card teams, who play on Friday. The mental break might be as important as the physical one.
“It’s great,” Snitker said of the mental breather. “Especially how we played to get here to this break. It’s been a long, stressful week here. A lot of very important games. I think these guys could use a little blow.”
The Braves haven’t received rest like this since the All-Star break.
“I feel like we’re in a good spot, so it’s not necessarily something that we’ve been dying for,” Olson said. “But it’s a long season and when you get five days to rest the mind a little bit, I think it’s going to be nice and we’ll come back refreshed.”
3. Wednesday’s game did not matter, but there were a few key points.
Dansby Swanson was in the starting lineup and took one at-bat, which meant he officially started all 162 games this season. Olson played – meaning he appeared in all 162 games (he started 161) – and homered.
Marcell Ozuna also blasted a three-run homer.
Ronald Acuña, Michael Harris II, Austin Riley and Travis d’Arnaud received days off. The Braves stayed away from their top arms. No one suffered an injury, which made this a success.
Riley finished the regular season leading the National League with 79 extra-base hits, which put him at second in the majors. Olson collected 78.
4. Snitker is giving his players Thursday and Friday off.
“Don’t come to the ballpark,” he told them.
The Braves will work out on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Truist Park. They’ll also have a group at Gwinnett – the taxi squad for this year’s postseason – getting hot.
Snitker knew his players needed the rest.
“They could use this,” he said. “It’s been a very stressful, long week here. And we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”
The Braves will have live batting practice during those workouts. It gives hitters and pitchers a chance to stay ready by getting at-bats / facing hitters.
5. Yes, Olson has struggled at points this year. Sure, he might not have been as consistent as he would’ve liked during certain stretches of the season.
But he finished his first season with the Braves with 34 homers and 103 RBIs.
“You always want better,” Olson said. “I think the most important thing is (being) division champs, and winning over 100 games is huge. I think we’re all happy in here.”
Stat to know
101 - The 2022 Braves won 101 games in the regular season, which is the sixth-highest total in franchise history.
“I think that’s something really cool to have on the résumé.”-Snitker on Swanson and Olson playing in all 162 games
The Braves begin the postseason with Game 1 of the National League Division Series, which will be played next Tuesday at Truist Park. Atlanta will face the winner of the three-game Wild Card Series between the Phillies and Cardinals in St. Louis.