WASHINGTON – The Braves piled on the Nationals early. Their starter, Max Fried, spun a gem. For the most part, Atlanta’s bullpen cruised.

It went according to plan for the Braves, who defeated the Nationals, 10-3, on Thursday in Washington. Atlanta is 98-55.

Five observations:

1. When he played baseball as a young boy in Curaçao, Ozzie Albies had a coach who told him this: “Always play hard, don’t look back.”

Albies has carried this with him ever since. He’s defined, at least in part, by his work ethic and intensity.

“I play hard no matter what,” he said. “We can be winning by a lot, losing by a lot. It doesn’t matter. Keep playing hard since day one, when I started playing baseball.”

On Thursday, Albies eclipsed the 100-RBI mark for the second time in his career. While going 4-for-6 with four RBIs, he also hit his 32nd homer. He doubled. He stole a base.

“You look up (at the scoreboard) and he’s got another 30 and 100,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Albies has a career high in homers. He has 103 RBIs, three off tying his career high.

But zoom out for a second.

Since the Braves called him up in 2017, Albies has been one of their driving forces. He exemplifies their standard. He helps set the tone. He leads, on and off the field.

You could take out Ozzie Albies and replace him with someone who performs similarly, but you will never truly replace Ozzie Albies.

“Ozzie, God, what he brings, it’s so vital, I think, to the whole lifeline of the whole club,” Snitker said. “I’ve said for years: You play the game the way Ozzie does, you’re gonna play it right. I mean, the kid does everything right on the field, respects the game, plays the game the way it should be. Does everything right – prepares, the work ethic.

“He’s the model player, really. I love when he has this success because I know how much he puts into it, how dedicated he is to it and how much he wants to play all the time.”

2. Fried spun six innings of one-run baseball. He was dominant.

Toward the end, his left index finger filled up with a bit of fluid. He had it drained, and he’s taking it day by day.

“We’re gonna do everything in our power,” Fried said. “At the end of the day, it’s about getting outs and performing in the playoffs. So, whatever we need to do to be able to set us up for that is my goal.”

Fried said the Braves have high-tech equipment and ointment that aid the healing process when he deals with blisters. This isn’t a new occurrence – Fried has had many blisters before, and this situation forced the Braves to push him back.

“It’s something that obviously happens often,” he said. “Just more about managing and dealing with it. It’s more of, like, case by case, I would say.”

Fried on Thursday retired 12 of the first 13 Nationals – the lone exception being a one-out solo homer in the third. Fried allowed three hits. He struck out seven.

3. Jake Irvin should not feel bad. He’s simply the latest victim of a Braves offense that only needs about 10 minutes to ruin a pitcher’s night.

Irvin began his start with two scoreless innings. The Braves, however, put multiple runners on base, which foretold what came next.

Atlanta hung five runs on Irvin in the third inning, which he didn’t escape. The Braves batted around.

Ronald Acuña Jr., who hit twice in the inning, led off with a triple. It went like this after that: Albies double, Austin Riley run-scoring single, Matt Olson single, Marcell Ozuna RBI fielder’s choice, Michael Harris II run-scoring double, Travis d’Arnaud run-scoring single.

“First time seeing him, facing him, you kind of see what his ball movement was doing,” Albies said. “Second (time) around, we just put up better ABs and it came up huge for us.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

4. The Braves, who finished with 10 runs on 18 hits, have scored at least six runs in 76 games – tied for the most in the majors.

Or put it like this: They’ve plated six or more runs in around 50% of their games, which is ridiculous.

They’re tied with the Dodgers, but Los Angeles entered Thursday having lost 13 games in which it scored at least six runs.

When hanging six or more, the Braves are 67-9.

5. When Olson hammered his 52nd home run in Miami last weekend, it not only meant he set the record, but that he left himself a considerable amount of time to add to it.

In the eighth inning, he launched No. 53.

Olson also has 132 RBIs, tying Gary Sheffield (2003) for the most by a Braves player since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.

Stat to know

20 - Albies is the 20th second baseman in MLB history to post multiple seasons with at least 100 RBIs.


“Amazing, because we need all the runs to win games every single night. To me, obviously they’re great milestones you get, but at the end of the day, if it helps the team win, that makes it better.” - Albies on his 100-plus RBIs helping the Braves this year

Up next

On Friday, Charlie Morton will face the Nationals, who will send lefty Patrick Corbin to the mound. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

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