Rosario relives legendary run with game-winning performance

Left fielder goes 4-for-4 with a homer in a comeback with postseason feeling

August 20th, 2023

ATLANTA -- Memories of an incredible October were rekindled as “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” was chanted throughout Truist Park in the closing moments of the Braves’ 6-5 comeback win over the Giants on Saturday night.

“It was special,” Eddie Rosario said through an interpreter. “It’s really beautiful. I can’t help but be grateful. It brings back a lot of good memories from the postseason.”

Rosario became an Atlanta legend during the 2021 postseason, and he further endeared himself to Braves fans on Saturday, when he erased a one-run deficit in the eighth inning with a two-run homer off Giants right-handed submariner Tyler Rogers. The game-winning shot capped a four-hit night for the Braves’ left fielder.

“When he gets hot and gets in that groove, he can be dangerous,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. 

Dodgers fans saw what a sizzling Rosario can do as he repeatedly damaged them on his way to winning the 2021 National League Championship Series MVP. Giants fans have also now gotten a taste of how potent his bat can be. He hit for the cycle against them on Sept. 19, 2021, and he’s now gone 4-for-6 during the first two games of this series.

Is it an NL West thing? 

“I think they just have bad luck that they catch me at a good moment,” Rosario said. 

The Braves have won eight of their last nine games, including each of their past five games. They own a 13 1/2-game lead in the NL East. They are also 4 1/2 games better than the Dodgers in the battle for the NL’s best record and 4 1/2 games better than the Orioles in the battle for MLB’s best record.

With the Braves starting Yonny Chirinos, the weakest link in their rotation, there wasn’t much confidence they would tally a fourth straight shutout for the first time in franchise history. It took just one pitch to end that bid, as LaMonte Wade Jr. hit a leadoff homer for San Francisco

Chirinos ended up allowing seven hits and four runs over four innings. The veteran who was claimed off waivers from the Rays in July has completed five innings in just two of the five starts he has made for Atlanta.

There’s a chance the Braves could bring Allan Winans up to replace Chirinos at some point. But even if that occurs, Chirinos would likely go to the bullpen. He’s out of options, and as he distances himself from a rough recovery from Tommy John surgery, there are signs he could get back to where he was in 2019, when he posted a 3.54 ERA in 18 starts for the Rays.

Snitker was non-committal when asked if Chirinos could be removed from the rotation during this next turn.

“We’ll talk about it,” Snitker said. “It’s five days away. There’s a lot of conversations about everything.”

Snitker stuck to Rosario through his inconsistencies this summer and is now reaping the benefits. The Braves' left fielder hit .161 with a .490 OPS over 87 plate appearances from July 1-Aug. 7, but he has righted himself over the past couple of weeks.

Another Braves player who has rebounded impressively this year has been Marcell Ozuna, who  extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a three-hit performance that started with a single ahead of Rosario’s second-inning RBI double. Ozuna also singled ahead of the homer Rosario hit against the first pitch he saw from Rogers’ unique submarine delivery. 

“Those pitches are definitely hard to see and they're hard to pick up,” Rosario said. “I feel like I need to take a pitch sometimes just to be able to start picking the pitch up and see where it’s coming from. But tonight was just my night. I feel like they could have thrown it underground and I still would have been able to hit it.”