The Atlanta Braves have won 101 games this season and claimed a fifth straight NL East title, but their World Series defense ended this weekend ahead of a trip to the NLCS. And really, a lot has gone wrong for the Braves in their NLDS series with the Phillies. It wasn’t a game… or a player.
Still, judging by Braves radio analyst Joe Simpson’s call in Game 4, you would have guessed that Ronald Acuña Jr. was responsible for the playoff disappointment.
While Acuña was one of the few reliable hitters in the series for Atlanta, the Braves star was caught eyeing the ball inside JT Realmuto’s park in Game 4. As the ball escaped Michael Harris II and ricocheted off the wall. , Acuña had not moved yet. At best, Acuña could have held Realmuto to a hat-trick if he actively supported the game. That was a mistake, of course. But you hardly ever hear a team radio show talk about a star player like Simpson did on Saturday.
Listen (Note: the bottom video):
JT Realmuto’s homer inside the park heard on Braves radio… dude was sick of Acuña lmaoooooo pic.twitter.com/2Z9Xzhx48a
—Nick Piccone (@_piccone) October 15, 2022
There is no denying that Acuña could have done better there. But the Braves have also told Acuña — who is coming off a torn ACL — to relax this season. That’s why we haven’t seen him run out of ground balls this season — it was instruction from the Braves. So it’s a bit unfair to expect maximum effort on a fly ball to left center field while simultaneously telling him to relax on the knee.
The game ultimately didn’t make much of a difference as the Braves lost 8-3. But it was certainly a talking point heading into what will be a long offseason for the Braves.
People will keep blaming Acuña when Austin Riley hit .067 in the series
— World Series champion Cold Takes (@BravesColdTakes) October 15, 2022
Braves radio reacts to Ronald Acuña Jr. not reacting to JT Realmuto’s home run inside the park. The words were not minced. https://t.co/j7iA2gsxW1
— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) October 16, 2022
Was it a bad game…yeah it wasn’t good, but Joe always had that thing with Acuña, because he doesn’t play baseball like the guys did in 1807. Joe has to get off his horse. https://t.co/wBgDR0z5QR
— Adrian Jones (@adrianjones_10) October 16, 2022
Wow, Joe Simpson just eviscerated Acuna inside the park circuit for simply “being a spectator”. And keep tearing it through two batters.
— Kyle Snipes (@KyleSnipes) October 15, 2022
Be crazy all you want, but it’s hard to fault Acuña when every time he’s played a playoff series, the other eight guys forget what a baseball is.
— Garrett Spain (@BravesMILB) October 15, 2022
I lived the, “Acuña was one of the only Braves to show up for the Division Series, but he messed up a game so it’s his fault!” speech once and have no desire to do it again.
— Dayton of Nebraska (@BravesAmerica) October 15, 2022
As the ball hit the wall, JT Realmuto’s HR Ronald Acuna had yet to move. pic.twitter.com/txC6A2jzg2
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) October 15, 2022
The Braves’ problems so far aren’t Riley & Swanson not hitting, starters don’t pitch more than 2 productive innings, and the bottom half of the order makes pitchers look like Randy Johnson, that’s to 100% because Acuña didn’t save a touchdown between LF and CF.
—Cody (@CodyRogers10) October 15, 2022
Joe Simpson cooks Ronald Acuña Jr. for this Braves Radio Network effort
— Wes Blankenship (@Wes_nship) October 15, 2022
It was a bad play, but no team will win a playoff series when the starting pitchers are posting a 7.90 ERA. Simpson should save some of his energy for this.