Los Angeles: Nothing like sunshine and a ballgame at Dodger Stadium. That’s what you get every game out here. With the world champion Braves in town for a three game series the expectation is for some really good baseball. The Braves are solid but the Dodgers are a powerhouse.
Last night ex-Braves favorite Freddie Freeman was on the field pre-game with his family where he received his 2021 Silver Slugger award from his former manager Brian Snitker and hitting coach Kevin Seitzer. He was very emotional as he greeted his former teammates with smiles and hugs. Leaving the only team he ever played for has been very hard. Aaron Judge should take heed as he thinks about leaving the Yankees. Freeman then proceeded to hit his first home run as a Dodger in his first at bat against his former team. As if it was scripted here in Hollywood.
23 year old Huascar Ynoa from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, in his second season now with the Braves, was impressive until the 4th inning. After giving up the home run to Freeman in the first inning he settled down. Then in the 4th he gave up 5 runs on 3 hits. Three of those runs were the result of his reliever Sean Newcomb giving up a bases clearing double to last years NL batting champion Trea Turner.
He was sitting on 97 plus fastballs with a very good sharp breaking slider and was pitching with command and control until that 4th inning. So what happened?
Well this is the big leagues and big league hitters will figure you out the second or third time around. He kept giving them the same series of pitches and was not changing speeds. All the same looks will get you in trouble at this level.
The more experienced pitchers will change things around on hitters as the game goes on. Ynoa will learn and I expect him to be a plus for the Braves. Unfortunately he was facing what is probably the best team in baseball and with his team facing future HOF lefty Clayton Kershaw he was not going to get much support.
They did manage to get to Kershaw for 4 runs on 6 hits but Ynoa was already gone at that point. Guillermo Heredia (Matanzas, Cuba) and Ozzie Albies (Willemstad, Curacao) each homered off of Kershaw. It was also Kershaw’s 100th win at Dodger Stadium. He is closing in on 200 wins in his 15 years as he sits at 187-84.
Today it will be Lefty Max Fried for the Braves and righty Walker Buehler for the Dodgers in what should be a good old pitchers duel between two of the best in baseball today.
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