Braves get big inning, led (again) by d’Arnaud

October 9th, 2020

It doesn’t matter where the ball is pitched. Braves catcher is crushing it anwhere.

d’Arnaud had another huge hit in Atlanta’s four-run third inning in a 7-0 victory over Miami in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead when Ronald Acuña Jr. walked and Freddie Freeman singled, before Marcell Ozuna drove in Acuña on an RBI single against Marlins rookie Sixto Sánchez.

It set up d’Arnaud, who homered in each of the first two games of the series.

Sánchez threw d’Arnaud a 0-2 fastball up and out of the zone. He somehow drove the ball off the right-center-field wall for a two-run double to make it 3-0. The 95.5-mph fastball was 4.09 feet off the ground, according to Statcast. It was the third-highest pitch hit for extra bases in the regular season or postseason this year.

"I was able to execute my pitch on that one," Sánchez said. "It was a really high pitch, and I was really, really surprised to see him making contact, and good contact, on that pitch."

How in the world did d’Arnaud do that?

“I'm still wondering too,” d’Arnaud said. “I just tried to put the barrel on the ball. I got rewarded with a double that scored two runs. You know, I don't know. I just tried to stay short and put the barrel on the ball, and like I said, I got rewarded.”

“That was like old school right there, just tomahawking a ball,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Guys are pitching up a lot more these days, and he just did an old-school hack on that thing.”

d’Arnaud advanced to third on Ozzie Albies’ lineout to center field and scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly to right to make it 4-0.

d’Arnaud hit .600 (6-for-10) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs (the most by a catcher in Division Series history), three walks and a 2.092 OPS in the series. He has been behind the plate for each of the Braves’ five postseason games, and he has caught four shutouts.

“The guy putting the numbers down and handling the staff deserves a lot of credit,” Snitker said. “Travis has done an unbelievable job. And what he does with the bat as a catcher, you just don't see that all the time. You're talking elite players right there that do what he did in these two series, and the impact that he had offensively. I can't say enough about that guy. He's just been unbelievable for us and even the hits overshadow the unbelievable defensive job that he's done with our pitchers.”