The Atlanta Braves were viewed as having a weakness at shortstop after Dansby Swanson departed as a free agent following last season
First-time All-Star Orlando Arcia has put that issue to rest with a stellar campaign.
The 28-year-old played in just 99 games for Atlanta over the past two seasons but the Braves weren’t deterred. They even gave Arcia a three-year, $7.3 million contract in late March that now seems like a bargain
In Arcia’s eyes, everything is working out just fine.
“My time in the big leagues has shown me that I’ve got to enjoy the game,” Arcia said through an interpreter on Bally Sports South after Friday’s 6-4 win over the Brewers. “I’ve got to enjoy playing. The more I enjoy the game, the better things turn out. I’m going to keep doing that and keep playing my game.
Arcia hit his 10th homer of the season in the series opener, a two-run blast that put Atlanta ahead to stay. He is batting .291 with 34 RBIs.
“I was just focused on doing my job, making good contact with the ball, putting it in play and whatever happens, happens,” Arcia said of the blast. “Fortunately, I was able to get that one.”
The homer came off right-hander Freddy Peralta. The two are very close friends.
“It’s hard because in that moment we are not friends,” Peralta said of being taken deep by Arcia. “I’m just trying to get outs and get wins for the team.”
All-Star third baseman Austin Riley also had a two-run homer off Peralta for the Braves on Friday. Riley is in the midst of an impressive power display, as he has gone deep five times in the past four games while going 8-for-17 with 13 RBIs
While Atlanta has won back-to-back games after losing its previous four, Milwaukee’s loss in the opener was just its third in the past 11 games.
Willy Adames hit his 17th homer of the season and William Contreras had two hits. Contreras, a former Brave, has nine games of two or more hits in July and is batting .407 (24-for-59) this month.
Christian Yelich and Contreras opened the game with back-to-back doubles, and Jesse Winker had an RBI single later in the first inning. Milwaukee, however, had just three hits the rest of the way.
“We came out of the gates really good,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, before referencing Yelich and Contreras. “They’re both swinging the bats really well. They’re really dangerous right now.
Yelich is batting .339 (21-for-62) with five homers and 17 RBIs this month.
Right-hander Allan Winans will be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut for the Braves on Saturday
Winans, who turns 28 next month, was the 500th overall draft choice (17th round) by the New York Mets in 2018 and didn’t advance past Double-A. The Braves selected Winans in the Rule 5 draft following the 2021 season
This season, Winans has stood out at Gwinnett with a 7-3 record and 2.81 ERA in 18 appearances (13 starts).
Right-hander Adrian Houser (3-2, 3.79 ERA) will start for the Brewers
Houser received a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds last Sunday when he gave up three runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Houser is 0-3 with a 3.06 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against Atlanta. Eddie Rosario has a homer for this lone hit in four at-bats against Houser, while Ronald Acuna Jr. is 3-for-7.
–Field Level Media
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