PHOENIX – As the Braves distance themselves from the deflating 6-4 loss to the D-backs on Thursday afternoon at Chase Field, they could benefit from the balanced response from Charlie Morton, who is keen to make his fifth appearance. match away. playoffs.
“It’s really about coming together and finishing strong,” Morton said. “The victories and the defeats will take care of themselves. We know what’s going on. Right now it’s really about making sure we’re tight and getting through. ”
It looked like the Braves would continue to show resilience as they followed a four-game losing streak with a fifth straight win. But as they neared the end of a four-game sweep against the National League’s worst team, they suffered a five-point seventh that halted Jacob Webb’s recent dominance and made the NL East run a bit more intriguing.
“We came here to win the series and we did it,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We would have liked to win today. We got off to a good start with Charlie.
Morton was in charge until the D-backs chased him with back-to-back singles to start the seventh inning. His exit prompted the entry of Webb, which allowed Carson Kelly to score three runs on the second pitch he threw. Two hitters later, Daulton Varsho had a decisive double on the Braves reliever.
In the space of five batters, the Braves bid farewell to a 4-1 lead and the chance to strengthen their position atop the NL East standings. They left Chase Field with a 2-1 / 2 game lead over the Phillies (78-74), who played the Pirates on Thursday night.
While the Phillies spend the remainder of this weekend in Pittsburgh, the Braves will be in San Diego for a series that begins with a resumption of a suspended seven-innings game from July 21. Atlanta is the home team and will be batting in the bottom of the fifth when play resumes with San Diego in the lead, 5-4.
What happens in Pittsburgh and San Diego over the next three days will set the stage for the Phillies’ arrival in Atlanta to start a three-game series on Tuesday. The Braves’ magic number to clinch a fourth straight division title is nine. The division will therefore not be determined until the start of this series, which could decide the NL East race.
“I don’t see a lot of volatility at this club,” Morton said. “I don’t see a lot of pushing and pulling. It’s just that you show yourself every day. Guys care about each other and it’s just an easy room to be a part of.
The healthy environment should make it much easier for Webb to get away from this unusually ugly exit. The 28-year-old reliever hadn’t allowed an earned run in 16 1/3 innings since May 21. More so, he had allowed just three hits and one unearned run in 10 1/3 innings in September.
Webb had won the chance to pitch in high leverage situations like the one he encountered after Morton cleared the two seventh inning singles. But he was humbled when he snagged what became a mid-shift at 82 mph that Kelly belted in the left-field seats for a three-run homerun.
Opponents had previously gone 1 for 15 against Webb’s change in September. They had also breathed against the field 45.5% of the time this month.
“Today I just didn’t have my best deals,” Webb said. “I was hanging things up in the zone and that’s what’s happening. You have to make some good throws here.
There shouldn’t be much worry about Webb bouncing back to give depth to a reliever box that has seen Richard Rodríguez struggle over the past two weeks. Webb unknowingly threw in college with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and had to have another elbow surgery after showing big promise for Atlanta in 2019. He also rebounded after having to deal with the fact that he had hit the Mets’ Kevin Pillar in the face with a pitch in May.
“Jacob has been through a lot,” Snitker said. “It’s probably a minor thing compared to what he’s fought throughout his career. ”
Likewise, the Braves will need to quickly eliminate the lingering effects of this loss. It looked like they were going to celebrate Austin Riley’s 32nd Homerun and what was to be another great start for Morton. But the seventh round changed the narrative and ensured that the intrigue would continue to surround the NL East race.