The Atlanta Braves, off to an encouraging but not overwhelming start, chose to speed up the timetable a little and push the future of the franchise into the present.
But that doesn't mean baseball fans haven't been deprived of seeing Ronald Acuna Jr. for the first month of the 2018 season, as the Atlanta Braves have kept the 20-year-old outfielder stored away in Gwinnett for safe keeping, at least when it comes to his contractual future. The ball traveled 416 feet at Great American Ball Park before being caught by a fan.
He has made an immediate impact.
Acuna sparked a two-run rally in the eighth inning that put the Braves ahead to stay.
The blast came in Acuna's sixth major league at-bat. If he's in the lineup Thursday, he'll face Reds right-hander Homer Bailey (0-3, 3.68 ERA), who is winless in five starts this season yet has thrown two no-hitters in the majors.
I am going with the under in this matchup.
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Mitch Marner scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and added an assist as the Leafs downed the B's, 3-1 in Toronto . Game 7 will be Wednesday night in Boston, with the victor advancing to face Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Acuna, though, got off to a brutal start in Triple-A Gwinnett, which prompted the Braves to keep the 21-year-old in the minors even longer. By waiting until now to call up Acuna, the Braves pushed back his timetable for becoming a free agent until 2024.
Many have visions of a Mike Trout-esque season from 2012 (.326 average, 30 home runs, 49 stolen bases). He was outstanding in both of his starts against the Braves this season, limiting them to three runs in 11.1 innings, and he stands at 5-2 with a stifling 2.04 ERA in nine career starts against the division rivals.
Ozzie Albies' prolific start has earned him a spot in Braves history, and he has time to try and push that to rewrite the Major League Baseball record book too. Albies was hit by a pitch by Kevin Shackelford to start the inning.
Cincinnati's Brandon Finnegan pitched five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk.
The winning pitcher was Jared Hughes (1-2), who worked 2-2/3 scoreless innings. Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Drew Hutchison each contributed base hits of their own in the defeat.
The Atlanta Braves will look to build some steam after salvaging a series split with Cincinnati, including taking down the Reds by a final score of 7-4 in the series finale on Thursday.