3 up, 3 down: Reviewing the Braves Opening Day

Joe Patrick
March 29, 2019 - 9:30 am
Atlanta Braves outfielder Matt Joyce

© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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THREE UP

Julio Teheran

Despite the flurry of cynism/self-flagellation from Braves fans on social media after Andrew McCutchen’s leadoff home run, the Braves’ six-time Opening Day starter settled down and even dominated for periods. The ball didn’t bounce his way in the fourth inning and it led to a two-run inning for Philadelphia, but Teheran came back from it and finished his final inning in style, striking out Phillies superstar Bryce Harper to cap his performance in the fifth.

Matt Joyce

Matt Joyce is hilarious. Check out what he told Chip Caray and Jeff Francoer on FOX Sports South’s television broadcast earlier this week during spring training.

Yeah, he sure is. He whacked a 93-mph Hecotr Neris fastball into the right field stands in his first competitive at-bat.

Dansby Swanson

Swanson’s errant throw that eventually lead to Teheran’s fourth inning trouble shouldn’t overshadow a successful day for the shortstop at the plate. It’s especially encouraging that the performance is a continuation of the way his spring training ended. While he didn’t go to the opposite field Thursday as he did earlier this week, Swanson hit the ball hard and looks confident.

THREE DOWN

Braves Bullpen

Thursday’s performance almost felt like a cry for help. Shane Carle and Luke Jackson both got into trouble straight away, and together allowed seven earned runs in less than two innings between them. The performance inflames an already obvious vulnerability in the Braves’ roster and will certainly increase pressure on Alex Anthopoulos to add experienced, quality arms in the bullpen before it’s too late.

Ender Inciarte

Having assumed the leadoff role from Ronald Acuña Jr. in what is a debatable decision by manager Brian Snitker, Inciarte didn’t look comfortable in the box Thursday. He was rendered completely ineffective in the role Thursday with a hat-trick of strikeouts in a 0-4 day. It’s only one game, but his body language did not exude confidence, which is more concerning than the output from one game.

Spirits

Opening Day is funny. You wake up to see everybody offering Opening Day salutations to one another:

“Hey Jim, morning. Happy Opening Day by the way!”

Someone shared with you their favorite quotes or movie scenes about baseball. It’s a beautiful sunny day and all is right in the world.

And then the bullpen gives up seven runs.

But the other good thing about baseball is there’s always the next day