Hard to believe that a road trip that began with two losses to a team that had previously won only three games could end as one of the giddiest rides in Atlanta Braves history, but this is baseball, where nobody knows anything. And the team flies south from Queens having accomplished all this:
-- Ronald Acuna made his big-league debut and mustered 13 hits over eight games, seven for extra bases, two of those 400-foot homers.
-- Ozzie Albies hit four more homers, collected 11 more RBIs and looked more and more like Joe Morgan in his back-to-back MVP years.
-- Nick Markakis went 18-for-40 (.450) with three homers – in 2015, his first season as a Brave, he had three home runs all season -- and 12 RBIs.
-- Mike Soroka made his MLB debut, yielding one earned run in six innings and winning on a night when Noah Syndergaard was the opposing starter.
-- Sean Newcomb had maybe his best night as a Brave by working seven shutout innings and winning on a night when Jacob deGrom was the opposing starter.
-- Julio Teheran responded to an truncated start because of shoulder tightness Friday in Philadelphia by carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning Thursday, a game that saw him collect as many hits (two) as he surrendered.
-- The team moved from third place, two games behind the division-leading Mets, when the trip began to leading the National League East by 1-1/2 games.
-- The Braves outscored the Mets 21-2 and didn’t trail in the series.
-- By taking two of three in Philly and sweeping the Mets, the Braves are 14-7 against NL East teams – without having faced the Marlins.
These were just the highlights, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Kurt Suzuki, Brandon McCarthy, Ender Inciarte, Johan Camargo, Mike Foltynewicz and – oh, yeah – Freddie Freeman. But that’s what happens on a team that’s as talented and locked in as this one: Everybody looks good.
We say again: This is a really good-looking team. We might be saying that for a good long while, and here I’m not just talking weeks and months. I’m talking years.