1. On Sept. 4, the Braves departed Atlanta and headed toward the West Coast.
On Sept. 14, they finished the road trip. It might have felt longer than a week and a half because it included two off days.
“It just feels like we’ve been on the road forever,” said manager Brian Snitker, who prefaced this by saying he understood nobody would feel sorry for his group.
The Braves went 4-4 on their road trip, but lost four of the last five games. They dropped three straight at one point. There were good wins and close losses.
2. The top of the Braves’ lineup struggled in this series. There was success in spots, but not collectively.
Ronald Acuña had two hits on Monday and two more on Tuesday, which are encouraging signs of life. Dansby Swanson had a great game on Tuesday, including hitting a homer. But Austin Riley and Matt Olson each went 1-for-12 over three games.
Too often, the top of the order missed out on collecting the big hit.
“They’re going to go through these kind of stretches,” Snitker said. “You’re not going to hit on all cylinders all the time, and you just got to weather the storm.”
The good news: The Braves have talent. No, that does not always matter. But usually, groups tend to move toward the mean.
The Braves’ best hitters are probably too good to continue struggling all at once for a long time.
“I’d take any guy in our lineup every day of the week,” said Robbie Grossman, who had a few big hits on the trip. “This is a tough game to hit a round ball with a round bat. You just got to keep continuously showing up and putting your best foot forward, and I’m looking forward to doing it with every single one of these guys in this clubhouse.”
3. You do not see this often: With a 1-0 count, Snitker walked out to the mound and pulled Charlie Morton.
“The ball was getting away from him,” Snitker said. “We were kind of at a point in the game right there that we wanted to try and put the inning down. He threw good and all. Just kind of felt like it was getting away, so wanted to try to put it down.”
Morton hit one batter and walked another to begin the bottom of the sixth. Then he threw one in the dirt on the first pitch to J.D. Davis.
The Braves trailed by a run. The Giants had two men on base. Snitker decided to pull Morton.
“I was glad I was out there for the sixth, but I just didn’t make pitches,” said Morton, who noted before that the Giants made him work early in the game.
Morton was charged with four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings, but the last two scored after he departed. He gave up four hits, walked two batters and hit two batters. He struck out seven, though.
4. Snitker summoned Jesse Chavez to escape the sixth-inning jam. He walked Davis, then got an out.
With two outs, Austin Wynns hit a two-run single into center field to give the Giants a three-run lead. The Braves’ bullpen has not been perfect, but it has gotten big outs – and did again on this trip.
“You get spoiled,” Snitker said. “In that situation today, those guys put that down eight out of 10 times. It just shows you how good they have been when you can’t even think back to when that happened. We were an out away from getting out of that and staying within striking distance. And it does happen, but you forget how good all these guys have been all year.”
The offense was not good enough to overcome the deficit. Giants starter Carlos Rodon held the Braves to a run over five innings before the bullpen finished the job.
5. It’s difficult for anyone to deny that this time of year is not different than any other. It means more.
“The reality is that the situation in the division, playoff situation, has changed,” Morton said. “That’s the reality of it. You only have so many games left and you want to win the division. I think we probably have the emotions and thoughts that you would expect us to have – we’re aware of it, but it’s still one game at a time. That’s how you win ballgames, and just kind of sticking together as a group.”
Stat to know
4-12 - The Braves have gone 4-12 in games that decided series this season.
“This is why you play. When you start spring training, you hope you’re in this situation every year. I’m just lucky to be a part of this and looking forward to showing up on Friday and playing again.” - Grossman on the pennant race
The Braves are off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the Phillies on Friday. The opener begins at 7:20 p.m.