The Atlanta Braves began the 2018 season against division rivals the Philadelphia Phillies. On Opening Day, Braves fans witness just how much fight this team has. After being down 5-0 at one point, the Braves fought back to tie it up in the 8th inning thanks to a two-run home run from Freddie Freeman, a solo home run from Ozzie Albies, Freeman scoring on a throwing error, and Preston Tucker tying the game on a single. Arodys Vizcaino has a perfect 9th inning and Nick Markakis of all people hits a three-run home run to give the Braves a 8-5 win. In Game 2, the Braves got down early, but were able to get up on the Phillies 3-1 at one point. However, the Phillies were able to tie it until the 8th inning were one play changed the whole outcome of the game. After the Braves took a 4-3 lead, Dansby Swanson hits a double that had Peter Bourjos score to make it 5-3. The only issue with this was that the Phillies challenge the play and when Bourjos slid his right foot popped up completely missing home plate. On the video replay that was shown to fans, there was no clear and convincing evidence. The people in New York must have saw some other angle in order to overturn the call. The call would help allow the game go into extra innings with the Phillies getting one run in the 11th to go on to win 5-4. In Game 3, the Braves offense put on a show. After going down 2-0, the Braves offense scored 15 runs on 19 hits and held the Phillies to 2 runs the whole game as the Braves won 15-2.
In this series against the Phillies, everyone got to know new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler pretty well. On Opening Day, Kapler took out starting pitcher Aaron Nola in the 6th inning with a runner on second with one out. Nola had just thrown 68 pitches and had completely shut down the Braves. The decision by Kapler would ultimately cost him and his team a win. In Game 2, Kapler again went through his bullpen just like he did in Game 2 and his lineup that he had in Game 2 was a much better one than he had in Game 1. Also Kapler delayed the game much more than he needed to by challenging Ryan Flaherty leaving early from third base on a sacrifice fly. After the game Kapler spoke about the replay. According to Kapler, the Phillies replay system was not working and therefore were not allowed to get a crew chief review so they had to use their challenge which did not go their way. However, the Phillies were charged with a challenge. In Game 3, Kapler took out his pitcher Vince Valesquez in the third inning. Kapler did not have a guy ready and waiting in the bullpen which got the third base umpire to run out to the Phillies bullpen to get Milner in the game. The issue with this is that the Phillies did not have a reliever ready to go out and pitch within the amounted time given. However, the umpires did not enforce this rule and Milner was able to get 5 warm up pitches when he shouldn’t. Braves manager Brian Snitker would be ejected for this making it his second ejection of the series and on the season.
Despite all of this craziness, the Braves show that they are going to be a good offensive team. The offense will continue to be good once Ronald Acuna gets called up who will easily improve the power in the lineup. Pitching wise, the Braves starters had issues given up first inning runs. If the starters could avoid the runs in the first inning, then the Braves have potential to sneak into the playoffs. It is still early and there is a lot of baseball still left to be play, but winning the first series is the step in the right direction. Up next for the Braves is a three game series against the Washington Nationals at SunTrust Park. First pitch is Monday at 7:35 PM.