Braves Walked Off in Extra Innings By Chicago Cubs in Series Opener

The Atlanta Braves offense set a new mark for futility in this one
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves got walked off by the Chicago Cubs, 4-3, in the 10th inning to open their series in Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. 

Here’s what you need to know about from the contest.

Charlie Morton pulled this one from the brink

Last week in Truist Park against the Cubs, Morton had the shortest outing of his season: three innings with four runs (three earned) allowed on five hits and three walks. He threw 76 pitches (48 strikes) to do it, too. 

Tonight’s game started off remarkably similar - 56 pitches that allowed two runs to score, coming off of three walks and two hits in just the first two innings. Darius Vines, called up yesterday and penciled in as the Thursday starter, actually got up and started lightly tossing in the bullpen in case Atlanta needed bulk innings early in this one.  

And then Morton just decided he wasn’t going to do...that anymore. Morton finished the next three innings in just 38 pitches, allowing only one more hit, two more walks and no runs while striking out a total of eight in the outing.  

The stuff was as good as ever, with Morton getting 13 whiffs and putting up a 26% CSW. He hit almost 3400 RPM on a curveball; only four pitchers have reached a higher spin rate on a curveball all season. 

Money Mike and Orlando Arcia carried the load 

Atlanta’s premium defenders brought the offense tonight - Harris had a leadoff homer in the 3rd inning and Arcia went two for three with two RBI and a run scored, putting up his own homer in the top of the 2nd. 

Not to be outdone, Harris also make a great defensive play with Cubs on base that saved two runs for scoring and preserved Atlanta’s lead. On a ball to deep center field, he made a leaping catch just short of the (brick) wall, forcing both runners back to their original bases. 

Both Arcia and Harris have arguments to be Gold Glove finalists this season, but Harris especially is making a case to win the award in the National League. 

The clutch hit just never came

The difference in this one for Atlanta came down to the offense, or more specifically, the lack of it. Atlanta’s went a disappointing 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position, leaving ten on base. In a season where the biggest hitters in the lineup haven’t been hitting so far, the bats just continue to be a bit off and not quite able to reproduce the run-scoring pace of last season’s league-leading offense.  

The 7th inning was a microcosm of the offense’s struggles this season - Atlanta got two runners on with no outs, but reliever Mark Leiter Jr. came into the game and got three consecutive strikeouts, sitting down Matt Olson, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Harris II to end the threat. 

(Not to be outdone, Marcell Ozuna got thrown out at third base in the 10th when trying to advance from 2nd on a ground ball to Dansby Swanson at shortstop.)   

What’s next for the Atlanta Braves?

Atlanta’s walking into a lefty matchup for tomorrow night’s game two - 2022 Cy Young runner-up Max Fried (3-2, 3.81) is squaring off with 2023 Cy Young finalist Justin Steele (0-1, 5.21). First pitch is scheduled for 7:40 PM on Bally Sports South. 


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Lindsay Crosby

LINDSAY CROSBY

Managing Editor for Braves Today and the 2023 IBWAA Prospects/Minors Writer of the Year. You can reach him at contact@bravestoday.com