Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. hits 121-mph homer, but Orlando Arcia’s blast beats Dodgers again

Atlanta’s Orlando Arcia runs the bases after hitting a three-run residence run within the tenth inning of a 4-2 win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Saturday evening. (Jae C. Hong / Related Press)

Mookie Betts is placing collectively one of many biggest seasons in baseball historical past by a leadoff batter.

So is Ronald Acuña Jr.

Who is healthier? It’s like evaluating filet mignon to ribeye, basically related however very totally different in nuance.

And generally, a humble facet dish can obscure the principle course. Orlando Arcia, the Atlanta Braves’ No. 8 hitter, swatted a three-run residence run off reliever Alex Vesia within the tenth inning, handing the Dodgers a 4-2 loss, their third in a row in a sequence billed as a possible preview of the Nationwide League Championship Collection.

The Dodgers had two early alternatives to interrupt the sport open, however Betts and Will Smith, two hitters they depend on for constant manufacturing, failed to return by.

Learn extra: Braves bully the Dodgers behind three residence runs and Max Fried’s excellent pitching

Betts missed a possibility to affix Charlie Blackmon (103 RBIs in 2017) and Darin Erstad (100 in 2000) as the one leadoff hitters ever to succeed in triple figures in RBIs when he struck out with the bases loaded and two out within the fourth inning.

Betts, whose 51 hits in August set a franchise report for a calendar month, has pushed in 98 runs. However he chased two pitches out of the strike zone earlier than being referred to as out by umpire Mark Ripperger on a pitch about an inch exterior.

That episode occurred one inning after Acuña hammered the ball more durable than anybody has all season, ambushing a 3-0 fastball by Dodgers rookie Emmet Sheehan that left the yard at 121.2 mph.

The best exit velocity this season till that swing was a three-way tie between Shohei Ohtani, Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Olson at 118.6 mph. It was the third-hardest hit residence run since Statcast started monitoring exit velocity in 2015.

“It appeared like a jet engine going by,” Sheehan stated when requested if the low line drive got here near hitting his head on the best way out of the park.

Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts stated it was the toughest hit ball he is ever seen.

“I did not assume that was potential,” he stated.

Dodgers starting pitcher Emmet Sheehan delivers against the Atlanta Braves.

Dodgers beginning pitcher Emmet Sheehan delivers towards the Atlanta Braves within the first inning Saturday. (Jae C. Hong / Related Press)

The homer — the third by Acuña within the sequence — was the one run given up by Sheehan in 4 innings, and he departed with the rating tied 1-1 after the Dodgers didn’t do a lot with a bases-loaded alternative within the third.

A leadoff double by Austin Barnes was adopted by walks to Betts and Freddie Freeman, citing Smith with none out. He grounded right into a 6-4-3 double play, which scored Barnes however blunted an opportunity at a giant inning.

“I believed we hit some balls laborious with runners on base and so they didn’t get by and we couldn’t push runs throughout,” Smith stated.

Smith, who usually bats third behind Betts and Freeman, has struggled towards fastballs and skilled an influence outage for 2 months. Neither he nor Roberts attribute the dip to the ardors of catching practically each sport. Smith was the designated hitter Saturday with Barnes behind the plate.

“I’ve talked to him many occasions over about how he’s feeling,” Roberts stated. “It’s not put on and tear, it’s not fatigue, however I do assume that getting him a DH day the place he doesn’t have to fret about placing down fingers is a psychological break, and in addition permits him to take 4 at-bats.”

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Smith is not in a deep stoop, he simply is not delivering like a No. 3 hitter is anticipated to do. He entered the sport with the very best on-base-plus-slugging proportion amongst qualifying catchers at .821.

“There are catchers throughout the league that catch as a lot as he does,” Roberts stated. “He’s in his prime, he takes excellent care of himself. So I simply don’t assume put on and tear is the rationale he’s not on the fastball.

“We nonetheless anticipate him to take walks and drive in runs. To hit third in any lineup, manufacturing is vital.”

Many of the Dodgers skipped batting follow earlier than the sport, however Smith and some teammates hit off a pitching machine to simulate sport velocity.

“I do assume in Will’s specific case, there are some issues along with his setup which have triggered him to be late on the fastball,” Roberts stated. “[Coaches] are attempting to wash it up. So, it’s been just a little higher of late.”

Learn extra: As Dodgers draw back in standings, postseason pitching choices begin to take precedence

The Dodgers want manufacturing from Smith, who had an infield single within the tenth inning and is batting .270, and others or threat changing into too depending on Betts and Freeman, who together with Acuña are vying for the Nationwide League most precious participant award.

Betts struck out thrice Saturday and Freeman struck out twice. The Dodgers, who scored solely on an eighth-inning three-run residence run by newcomer Kolten Wong on Friday, are three for twenty-four with runners in scoring place within the three losses.

Negated was the stellar scoreless aid work by Shelby Miller, Ryan Brasier, Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips and Vesia . . . . till the left-hander served up a fastball to the right-handed hitting Arcia that caught an excessive amount of of the plate.

Max Muncy’s sacrifice fly with one out and two on within the backside of the tenth scored the Dodgers’ second run, however Amed Rosario struck out to finish the sport. With the sequence finale looming Sunday, Muncy cautioned towards drawing conclusions from the losses.

“You possibly can’t take an excessive amount of out of it as a result of if we face them within the postseason it’s going to be utterly totally different video games,” he stated. “It’s an thrilling sequence proper now and plenty of enjoyable for individuals to look at, however on the finish of the day, it’s not going to be the identical because the playoffs.”

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This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Occasions.

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