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Braves – Led by Acuña and Strider – Return to Winning Form

Fear not, Atlanta Braves fans, your team can still hit, pitch, and ultimately win. This was evident in a 9-3 defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 19, 2023, at Atlanta’s Truist Park.

The Braves snapped a four-game skid that immediately followed their clinching of the NL East. The Braves were pounded by a combined score of 43-14, including a three-game sweep by the Miami Marlins.

The highlight within that stretch was Matt Olson’s 52nd home run on Saturday, which set the team record for home runs in a season.

On Tuesday, the Braves ended their losing skid in typical Braves fashion: with power-hitting and solid starting pitching, specifically from Ronald Acuña Jr. and Spencer Strider.

Standing Tall

Braves Still Hold Best Record

The standings were not affected much by the losing streak, however. Atlanta is 97-54 and have clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the NL Division Series. They will face the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 Wild Card in a five-game NL Division Series beginning on Oct. 7. Atlanta owns a two-game lead over the Orioles in the battle for MLB’s best record and home-field advantage for the World Series. They have a three 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers for the NL’s best record and home-field advantage.

Acuña Delivers Again

Something extra is what one gets from Acuña. He homered on the first pitch from Phillies starter Cristopher Sánchez. Singling to begin a four-run fifth against Michael Lorenzen and then hit his 39th homer, producing his 100th in the sixth RBI to push his MLB-leading run total to 138.

With this multi-homer performance, Acuña moved one home run away from producing the first 40-60 season in AL/NL history. He also tallied his 67th steal. He is close now to the first 40-70 season in the big leagues.

Acuña’s next home run will also achieve the fifth 40-40 season in AL/NL history. He aims at just the 19th season to consist of 200 hits, 40 homers, 100 RBIs, and 140 runs. Lou Gehrig’s four seasons with those totals and Babe Ruth’s three account for seven of the 18 seasons on record. The other players to do so since 1937 are Billy Williams in 1970, Ellis Burks in 1996, Larry Walker in 1997, Todd Helton in 2000, and Albert Pujols in 2003. 

Strider In Stride

Strider struck out 11 through five innings and moved within six strikeouts of John Smoltz’s single-season franchise record set in 1996. He improved to 18-5 on the season, and his ERA is at 3.73.

The 24-year-old right-hander has 270 strikeouts in 176 innings this season. His strikeout total is 50 more than any other MLB pitcher.


Main Photo Credits: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports


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