The National League was destroyed in the regular season. However, he was silent in the postseason. This is the story of Atlanta Braves leading hitter Ronald Acuña Jr.
Atlanta lost 1-3 in the away game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the 2023 Major League National League Division Series (NLDS) held at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on the 13th (Korean time).
By the 11th, Atlanta had tied the series at 1-1, but lost to Philadelphia, which hit six home runs in the game on the 12th, giving them the series lead. In the end, he kneeled in the game that day and became frustrated at the threshold of the National League Championship Series (NLCS).
Atlanta scored only 8 points until Game 4. The average score per game is only 2. This is in contrast to the 947 points scored (1st place in the entire major league) in 162 regular season games. The batting lineup suffered from empty hits.
The most disappointing thing is Acuña Jr.’s silence. Acuña Jr. had no choice but to watch his team lose, going 0-hit in 4 at-bats in the final 4th game. Acuña Jr., who came to the plate as the leadoff hitter in the top of the first inning, caught Philadelphia starting Ranger Suarez’s low four-seam fastball on the 6th pitch, but retired with a grounder to shortstop.
Acuña Jr. took his second at-bat in the top of the third inning with the score tied 0-0, with two outs and one on first base. In an unfavorable ball count of 1B-2S, he cut the change-up that fell on the 4th pitch, leading to a full-count game. However, the bat went out again on a low changeup on the 7th pitch, and the pitcher was out with a ground ball. It was difficult to attack Suarez, who used a low pitch.
Acuña Jr., who once again took on the role of leadoff hitter in the top of the sixth inning when the team was down 1-2, faced Serantoni Dominguez, a pitcher who had been replaced by Philadelphia, in his third at-bat. Acuña Jr. followed the baseball rule of aiming for the ‘first pitch of a changed pitcher’ and hit a low sinker on the first pitch. But this time, the batted ball went straight toward the second baseman.
In the top of the 7th inning, when the score was tied 1-3, they had a chance to score. After two outs, Atlanta’s lower batting lineup got three walks and prepared a delicious meal for Acuña Jr. As it was a chance to score a large amount of points, Acuña Jr. also continued to play cautiously. He looked for an opportunity by cutting the 4th and 6th four-seam fastballs in 1B-2S.메이저놀이터
When Craig Kimbrel’s 7th pitch four-seam fastball hit his body, Acuña swung the bat as hard as he could as if he had been waiting. The batted ball that hit the center of the bat flew toward the left-center wall. However, Philadelphia center fielder Johan Rojas quickly chased after him and caught the batted ball with a fantastic jump catch. Atlanta, who missed a chance in the top of the 7th inning due to Acuña Jr.’s out, was ultimately unable to turn the game around.
The 2023 regular season was Acuña Jr.’s season. Acuña Jr. appeared in 159 games and recorded a batting average of 0.337 (217 hits in 643 at-bats), an on-base percentage of 0.416, a slugging percentage of 0.596, 41 home runs, and 106 RBIs. He also recorded 71 stolen bases and became the first player in Major League history to join the ’40-70 Club’ (40 home runs, 70 stolen bases). He also ranked first in scoring (149 points) in both leagues.
Atlanta, which accumulated the most wins (104 wins) in the Major League thanks to Acuña Jr.’s performance, won the NL Eastern Division and secured a direct ticket to the NLDS. Acuña Jr. was expected to do well in the NLDS as well.
However, when we actually opened the lid, Acuña Jr. did not help the team at all. In the first game, which was met with high expectations from fans, he had no hits in 3 at-bats and only 1 walk. In the second game, he scored two runs with one walk and one hit to the body, laying the foundation for a comeback victory. In Game 3, he completed a multi-hit game with 2 hits and 1 run in 5 at-bats, but was unable to prevent the team from losing. In the end, in Game 4, he went 0-hit in 4 at-bats again.
In 4 games in the NLDS, his batting average was 0.143 (2 hits in 14 at-bats), his on-base percentage was 0.294, and his slugging percentage was 0.214. It was difficult to produce even a single hit, let alone the long hit that was expected. As leadoff Acuña Jr. failed to perform his role, the team collapsed helplessly, losing the NLCS ticket to Philadelphia for the second year in a row.