Ronald Acuña leaves due to knee soreness but Braves sweep doubleheader

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

MIAMI – With a 6-2 win on Saturday night, the Braves swept the doubleheader versus the Marlins at loanDepot Park.

The Braves have won five in a row.

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Here are five observations on Atlanta (69-46):

1. Twelve hours – which is the approximate amount of time the Braves spent at the ballpark for Saturday’s split-doubleheader – is a lot of time to lose focus. It is difficult to sweep a doubleheader because of the factors that go into playing them.

The pitching situation can become dicey. The bats can go cold. A couple plays could change the tenor of the entire day.

Anyone who has watched the Marlins play this season knows they are not contenders, but this doesn’t detract from the Braves’ two victories on Saturday. Sweeping a doubleheader on the road is sweeping a doubleheader on the road.

“I really like how the guys came out and played,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We had a lot of energy. Like I say, it starts with the pitching. That’s what allows you to do that. We got two really good nice starts, and the bullpen did a great job.”

The Braves received good starts from Kyle Muller (Game 1) and Ian Anderson (Game 2). Matt Olson had a terrific day, as did a number of other Braves. The bullpen pitched well.

The Braves are a win away from sweeping the four-game series in Miami.

2. Ronald Acuña sent the game’s first pitch, thrown by Tommy Nance, 442 feet out to center field. This was the latest encouraging moment in a stretch full of them for the young superstar.

But Acuña, who has been hot lately, was removed from the game as a precaution because of right knee soreness. He is day-to-day. Snitker said Acuña won’t hit the injured list.

“I feel like I’ve just been playing with the soreness and some of the pain for about a week now or even further back,” Acuña said through interpreter Franco García. “It kind of comes and goes, highs and lows or whatever. Just playing through it, and right now at this moment, I feel good and we’ll see how it goes.”

Acuña tore the ACL in his right knee in this ballpark last summer. The artificial turf here, Snitker said, can be a difficult playing surface.

“Yeah, I would say it’s particularly tough to play on the synthetic grass or the turf, and on top of that to play 18 innings is tough,” Acuña said about this, agreeing with his manager.

The outfielder continued his dominance over the Marlins. He has been on a nice run recently.

“It feels good, and it feels good to feel like myself again,” Acuña said. “And it’s tough. It’s tough to go through those stretches and it’s tough to kind of have those hard times. Definitely when you’re going through that, it’s easy to lose some confidence, so it feels good to kind of just be back.”

3. Olson has helped power the Braves’ offense in Miami, homering in all three games thus far.

Through those three games here, he is 4-for-13 with three home runs and a two-run single. He has five RBIs.

4. The Braves optioned Anderson to Triple-A before the series finale in New York. But he remained with the team after that, going to Boston and then Miami, because he was going to be the 27th man for this doubleheader and start one of its games.

“Just show the team that I feel like I can contribute, and hopefully I’ll get another crack here soon,” Anderson said of his mindset for this start.

Anderson surrendered two runs over six innings. One scored on a home run, the other on a softly hit infield single after Anderson gave up a triple. He allowed five hits, struck out four and walked one.

Asked if he felt he had more to prove in this one, Anderson said: “No, I don’t think so. I didn’t look into it too much like that. You have things that do motivate you and that’s definitely something that did, but I just tried to go out there and pitch my game.”

5. Vaughn Grissom is 21 years old. You keep reading it and hearing it, but it is difficult to believe when he does things like he did in Saturday’s second game.

Facing A.J. Ladwig, who was making his debut, Grissom cranked a two-run home run that traveled 440 feet. It left the bat at 107.1 mph as it flew over the left-center field wall and up toward the concourse before hitting a structure out there.

Braves 6, Marlins 2

Stat to know

14 - The Marlins have scored three or fewer runs in 14 straight games, so if this continues, the Braves have a great chance to sweep the series.

Quotable

“To me, it doesn’t matter if I’m in pain. I’m always ready to play. If they tell me I’m going, then I’ll be ready to go. And if they tell me I’m not, then I’ll be ready to support the team on the bench.” - Acuña on if he thinks he’ll play Sunday

Up next

Bryce Elder will start Sunday’s series finale against Miami, which begins at 1:40 p.m.