HomeTeamsBravesIs Rodon Roast Sign Of Revived Braves?

Is Rodon Roast Sign Of Revived Braves?

It was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel. Maybe even a preview of the 2024 World Series.

The battle of left-handers between Carlos Rodon of the Yankees and Chris Sale of the Braves matched two of the most effective starters in the majors this season.

But this was not Rodon’s night. From the get-go.

In the top of the first inning, Jerred Kelenic, pressed into service as a leadoff hitter, smoked a single. Then Ozzie Albies, who pounds left-handers anyway, hit the first pitch he saw deep into the left-field seats. Three batters later, Austin Riley hit an even longer one – an opposite-field shot to right-center.

The romp was on.

Austin Riley hit a home run. So did Matt Olson.

Despite the raucous Friday night crowd at Yankee Stadium, the game turned into extended batting practice for the Braves. They built an 8-1 lead on 11 hits before they finished batting in the top of the fourth.

The only Yankee hit to that point came on a wind-blown triple that could have been ruled an error on Adam Duvall, a former Gold Glove recipient.

In the meantime, Sale, bidding for both an All-Star berth and his first Cy Young Award, sailed through his meetings with the meat of the Yankee batting order. 

Against the likes of Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, and Giancarlo Stanton, he kept the ball from disappearing into the Bronx night.

The crowd was restless, almost ready to revolt. One night earlier, the Yankees had been crushed by their biggest divisional rival, the Baltimore Orioles. The score was 17-5.


The Braves began the season as prohibitive favorites to win their seventh straight divisional crown, extending the longest such streak in the major leagues.

But that was before they lost defending National League MVP Ronald Acuna, Jr. and 20-game winner Spencer Strider, who led the majors in wins and strikeouts before his elbow needed surgical repair.

They also lost catcher Sean Murphy for two months, Riley and Albies for a few weeks each, and defensive whiz kid Michael Harris II, their brilliant center-fielder, for a month. 

But good teams survive tough times.

Even though the Philadelphia Phillies sprinted to a 10-game lead in the National League East, the Braves were showing considerable spunk for the second June in a row.

They went 21-4 in June of 2023.

Although most teams are not governed by the zodiac, the Braves might be an exception. They played with their tail between their legs in May, snapping a best-in-baseball streak of 14 consecutive winning months. After a 19-9 mark at the start of the season, they went 13-14 in May, stumbled into June with their vaunted offense still snoozing, and awakenening only in recent days.

Their 8-1 win over the Yankees Friday night was their fourth in a row and their seventh in their last eight games. It also gave the Braves baseball’s best winning percentage in interleague play, thanks to a 21-10 record.

Dating back to the 1990 season, the Braves and Yankees combined have won more often than any other team. During that 33-year span, Atlanta has won 3,030 times, second only to New York’s 3,094. No other club has even won 3,000 games in that timeframe.

The teams have combined for 6,124 wins, 36 division titles, 13 pennants, and seven world championships since 1990 – with both considered strong contenders to increase those numbers this season.

Entering the Friday night game in the Bronx, the Yankees held a slim half-game lead in the American League East with a 51-26 record, while the Braves were second in the National League East at 41-31, seven games behind the front-running Philadelphia Phillies. That margin closed to six games when the Phillies lost to Arizona Friday.

The Yankees are banking on a pitching rotation that had performed beyond expectations before the Baltimore Orioles rang up a 17-5 victory at Yankee Stadium Thursday, when All-Star candidate Luis Gil gave up seven earned runs in an inning-and-a-third.

Coupled with Rodon’s outing Friday, the Yankee staff had yielded 25 runs in two steamy nights at home. 

After Gil, Rodon had been their most reliable starter, yielding three runs or less in 13 of his 16 starts while posting a 9-4 record. A two-time All-Star, the 31-year-old lefty had been 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA at Yankee Stadium before the Braves fried him Friday.

Dan Schlossberg, Senior Writer
Dan Schlossberg, Senior Writerhttps://mlbreport.com/
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is a national baseball writer for forbes.com; weekend editor of the Here’s The Pitch newsletter; columnist for Sports Collectors Digest; and contributor to USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Memories & Dreams, and many other outlets. He’s also the author of more than 40 books. His email is ballauthor@gmail.com.


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