Mother's Day bash: Freddie, Braves top Phils

May 10th, 2021

ATLANTA -- Whether this past weekend proves to be a turning point in the Braves’ season remains to be seen. But it was certainly one that created the spark they had not previously had this season.

One day after producing one of their most thrilling wins in recent memory, the Braves returned to Truist Park on Sunday night and cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Phillies. constructed another strong start and honored his late mother and his wife by homering in a second straight game.

“We’ve been fighting through things,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Now, with the energy and the come-from-behind [rallies], I don’t know, the vibe is different than it was a couple days ago.”

By taking two of three from the Phillies, the Braves evened their record through 34 games and stayed within 1 1/2 games of first place in the National League East. That’s pretty encouraging considering where it seemed they were headed before erasing one-, two- and three-run deficits over the final four innings of Saturday’s thrilling win.

“[Saturday’s] game was huge for us to erase three deficits and to ultimately win that game,” Freeman said. “That was a huge momentum boost for us.”

Here’s a look back on how much things changed for the Braves over the past two games:

Looking like himself
Freeman has never shied away from reminding us of how much he loves his mother, Rosemary, who passed away when he was 10 years old and his wife, Chelsea, who takes care of the couple’s three sons, including the two that arrived this past winter.

So, when he highlighted his three-hit game with a third-inning homer off Aaron Nola, there was no doubt who he was thinking about. In fact, as he neared the plate, he pointed to Chelsea, who was in the stands with their oldest son, Charlie.

“It was always a sad day for me for a long time on Mother’s Day and it’s turned to happiness now with my wife and having three boys," Freeman said. "So, it’s a special day. There's a lot of emotions that go through each minute of this day, but I'm glad to be able to end it on a high note.”

Freeman snapped a career-long hitless streak at 22 at-bats when he homered in Saturday’s sixth inning. It’s been a rough start for the reigning National League MVP. But while he’s hitting just .217, he has nine homers and a respectable .818 OPS.

“All of the sudden, Freddie is starting to look like Freddie,” Snitker said.

Huascar The Great
With momentum so often being the next day’s starter, the Braves got exactly what they needed from Ynoa, who surrendered a leadoff homer to Andrew McCutchen and then blanked the Phillies over the remainder of his six-inning effort. The young hurler has posted a 2.29 ERA through his first seven starts. Ynoa ran his hitting streak to four games, but he didn’t homer in a third straight game.

“It’s just about winning games, getting to the playoffs and then, God willing, the World Series," Ynoa said through an interpreter.

See, there’s no reason to worry about this team’s current confidence level.

Given that he wasn’t necessarily considered a strong rotation candidate entering Spring Training, it’s remarkable that Ynoa has allowed one run or fewer in five starts. The only MLB pitcher with more starts of one run allowed or fewer is Kevin Gausman, who has six. The remainder of Atlanta’s rotation has combined to produce seven such starts.

“He’s such a good kid and he’s dedicated to what he’s doing,” Snitker said. “It’s good because the guy has skills.”

Complementary heroes
There’s reason to wonder how the Braves could have successfully navigated their way through 12 innings on Saturday had Josh Tomlin not delivered 4 1/3 innings of relief after Charlie Morton was chased during the first inning of Friday’s series opener.

A rejuvenated Luke Jackson, A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek each worked a scoreless inning in both of the final two games of this series. Had just one not been available Saturday, there could have been a different outcome. Instead, this series showed some improvement with a bullpen that should get top setup man Chris Martin back this week.

From an offensive perspective, Pablo Sandoval’s game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game was definitely the series’ biggest home run. But the most encouraging homer might have been the one Dansby Swanson hit off Nola in Sunday’s four-run first inning.

Swanson is hitting just .226 with a .686 OPS. But he has provided great defense and his speed was key when he scored from first base on William Contreras’ game-tying three-run double in the 12th inning of Saturday’s win.