Tromp romps in Braves debut, guides G1 win

Triple-A Gwinnett batterymate Muller also finds success with big league club

August 13th, 2022

MIAMI -- announced his presence in Atlanta’s lineup with authority on Saturday afternoon, with three hits and three RBIs in the Braves’ 5-2 Game 1 win at loanDepot park.

Not only did Tromp show off at the plate, but he and southpaw utilized consistent game planning to shut down the Marlins and notch Atlanta’s fourth consecutive win.

Tromp was picked up by the Braves last September off the waiver wires and then was outrighted to Triple-A Gwinnett on April 19. It took only four pitches Saturday for the backstop to notch his first Major League hit this year. But that first hit -- a double in the third inning -- wasn’t the one that counted most.

Rather, it was Tromp’s second at-bat that did damage. Tromp stepped into the box with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth, the seventh batter to face Jesús Luzardo that half-inning, and hit a 1-1 changeup for another double.

The pitch was below the zone and toward the outer edge of the plate, but evidently it was the pitch Tromp wanted. He ripped the ball over the head of third baseman Charles Leblanc and into left field, plating a pair of runs while trotting into second base.

During the offseason, Tromp adjusted his swing. It was the “first thing” he did. Once he was back playing during Spring Training and the regular season, he then focused on perfecting his approach.

“That was the last piece of the puzzle that I had to figure out,” Tromp said, “and I did a good job with it this year.”

Tromp’s left quad cramped while running to second base, which meant that when he launched a ball into the left-field corner again in the eighth inning, he settled for an RBI single and a slow jog to first, rather than legging out his third double of the game.

“I started jogging and I was like, ‘I think I could have [run it out], I don't know,’” Tromp said. “It was funny, the guys were yelling at me to go to second and I was like, ‘Bring me a wheelchair. I'll go to second on a wheelchair for you.’”

Atlanta recalled Tromp from Triple-A Gwinnett on Sunday to back up William Contreras, the de facto first-string catcher after veteran Travis d’Arnaud was sidelined with a right leg injury on Aug. 6 in New York.

It worked well that Tromp was set to catch one of the games in Saturday’s doubleheader, especially after Atlanta decided to recall Muller to start Game 1.

The pair know each other well. Tromp has caught Muller’s past 10-plus starts at Gwinnett, so it was business as usual for the batterymates -- just on a much larger stage.

But Muller, like Tromp, delivered. In his first big league start since May 1, when he allowed seven runs on four hits and six walks in 2 2/3 innings vs. the Rangers, Muller showed off the skills he had developed back in Triple-A. He pitched with more simplicity and confidence.

“I think just understanding more about myself as a pitcher,” Muller said. “I simplified it a lot, in terms of what I was trying to do approach-wise and just you know, tried to attack with a fastball down the middle a little bit up, and then go off of that.”

With that adjusted approach, Muller had a much better outing on Saturday. He struck out five while allowing just two runs on three hits and one walk. And he went five innings, the first three of which he did not allow a hit and allowed just one baserunner on a third-strike wild pitch.

Muller also showed off a new glove, a women’s softball glove he bought at a sporting goods store after he broke his non-pitching hand in July. A ball that was slapped and hooked out of the turtle hit his hand and broke two bones during batting practice while he was walking in foul territory. It was, as he said, “a freak thing.” Muller was adamant he wouldn’t miss playing time because of the injury. So, he needed a glove that would fit over top of a brace or hand wrap.

“I grabbed the biggest gloves I could find and just started strapping them on,” Muller said. “I'm out pitching in the Major Leagues with a women's softball glove. I never really thought I'd be there, but here we are. Might have to keep it.”