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Atlanta snake bitten by two costly plays in 6-2 loss

The Atlanta Braves fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks as it lost 6-2 Monday night behind two crucial errors in the contest.

The Bravos made two costly blunders that resulted in six runs for Arizona that cost Atlanta the game.

Spencer Strider made his starting debut Monday night and did a solid job, but the box score may not lead fans to think so. Also, not listed in the box score are two errors that Marcell Ozuna and Matt Olson made that allowed AZ to score.

In the bottom of the first, Arizona’s cleanup hitter hit a fly ball to left field that Ozuna dove for unsuccessfully that put runners on second and third with two outs. According to Statcast, there was an 85 percent catch probability, but Ozuna failed to make the play. This extended the inning and resulted in three runs as Pavin Smith hit a homer that put the Diamondbacks up 3-1.

Austin Riley launched his 12th home run in the top of the fourth that pushed Atlanta closer 3-2 as the team made Arizona ace Zac Gallen work throughout the game.

In the bottom of the fifth things spiraled further down for the Braves. With runners on first and second, and one out, Josh Rojas hit a grounder to Ozzie Albies, he tossed to Dansby Swanson for the second out, and Swanson fired to first for the potential third out. The ball hit Olson’s glove, but he did not make the catch, and that extended the inning. Arizona wound up with three more runs at the conclusion of the bottom of the fifth that made the 6-2.

It is well documented that Ozuna struggled defensively over the years, and with the Braves being cautious with Ronald Acuña Jr., the team needs someone in the outfield. It just so happened to be Ozuna Monday night, and he made a terrible read on the ball that extended the inning.

Matt Olson on the other hand won the Gold Glove Award twice in his career, so a routine play like that in the fifth being botched is uncharacteristic oh him.

Both those plays however do not qualify as errors because in the outfield it was not a routine play, and Ozuna’s glove never touched the ball until it landed. Olson’s play does not qualify because a double play cannot be assumed if he did indeed caught the ball.

While Atlanta faced a tough pitcher in Zac Gallen, a loss like this exemplifies the season Atlanta played to this point in the 2022 campaign. Spot starters because of injuries and struggling young pitchers, and an injury to their star player that the team desperately needs back full time. While Strider pitched well in his spot start his final stats read five earned runs on four hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.

Acuña Jr. played previously, but the Braves approach with him is warranted given the severity of his ACL injury. It is not a foregone conclusion that if Acuña Jr. was in right field, he made the catch, but his defensive capabilities exceed those of Ozuna.

This further hurts Atlanta’s chances in the NL East standings as the New York Mets won on Monday night. It is critical for the Braves to take a game or two in this series before facing the Colorado Rockies for the four-game series starting on Thursday.