Ronald Acuña Jr. benched, Braves win, and this could be red-letter day in season ⚾️

Jeff Schultz, writing for The Athletic:

When Acuña was benched for standing and admiring the flight of his third-inning fly ball — which wound up being a 367-foot single off the right-field wall, not a home run, a pratfall that contributed to a scoreless inning — it was a significant moment for the player and potentially the Braves this season.

Not only did Acuña loaf to first base, he was then thrown out trying to steal second. Had he hustled initially, he would have had an easy double, eliminating the need to steal in the first place. That bottom half of the inning zapped the energy out of the stadium after the Braves didn’t produce.

When Snitker benched Acuña, it didn’t only send a message to Ronald, but to the entire team. Everybody on the roster was now being held accountable. The Braves responded well yesterday.

Max Fried rebounded from his rough first inning to tame the Dodgers offense for the following four innings. The bullpen then held fort for the remainder of the game. Meanwhile, Rafael Ortega hit his first home run of the year, a grand slam which ended up being the game winner.

These moments matter and it could be a huge reference point if the Braves propel themselves into something special in a couple months.

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