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d’Arnaud powers Braves with 2nd NLDS HR

@ToddZolecki
October 8, 2020

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud moved into the cleanup spot on Sept. 9, putting him behind three of the best hitters in baseball: Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna. He looks at home there.

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud moved into the cleanup spot on Sept. 9, putting him behind three of the best hitters in baseball: Ronald Acuña Jr., Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna.

He looks at home there.

Game Date Result Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 6 ATL 9, MIA 5 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 7 ATL 2, MIA 0 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 8 ATL 7, MIA 0 Watch

d’Arnaud hit a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s 2-0 victory over the Marlins in Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Minute Maid Park, putting Atlanta in position to sweep the best-of-five series with a victory Thursday. It followed his go-ahead, three-run home run Tuesday in Game 1. d’Arnaud is 4-for-6 with one double, two home runs, five RBIs and two walks in the series, which mirrors the success he enjoyed in the regular season.

“I don’t know that I can do it justice,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said about d’Arnaud’s impact in the cleanup spot, where he has hit 19 times in the past 22 games, including the postseason. “He’s been so big for our club. It doesn’t matter where he hits, his at-bats are consistent. Hitting fourth, some guys try to be a fourth-place hitter. He just puts good at-bats up.

“This guy’s a really good hitter. I had no idea he’s the quality hitter that [he] is. He’s consistent, has good at-bats. He’s one of those boring pros that’s just kind of a straight line; every day’s the same [preparation-wise]. What he does is very professional and how he goes about it.”

d’Arnaud quietly batted .321 with nine home runs, 34 RBIs and a .919 OPS this season. Quietly, because most of the offensive attention in Atlanta goes to Freeman, who is the presumed NL MVP Award front-runner, plus Acuña and Ozuna. Those three went a combined 0-for-11 with five strikeouts (four by Acuña) in Game 2, but the Braves won because of homers from d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson.

“I’m blessed to be able to watch Freddie hit every day, to be able to watch Ozuna hit every day,” d’Arnaud said. “I get to pick their brains every day, so all the credit goes to them. They get the pitchers tired before I get up there, and I try not to do too much, just hit the ball on the barrel.”

d’Arnaud’s solo homer off Marlins right-hander Pablo López in the fourth left his bat at 109.9 mph and traveled a projected 405 feet, according to Statcast. It was his second-hardest-hit homer since Statcast began tracking them in 2015, behind a 111.6-mph dart on April 28, 2017.

Lopez has allowed six home runs this season. d’Arnaud has hit three of them.

“I think I just got lucky to be able to get a pitch to hit that one at-bat,” d’Arnaud said.

d’Arnaud is now tied for second in postseason home runs among active catchers with five. He trails only the Yankees’ Gary Sánchez, who has seven.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .