22 May

life of riley

Ya know, Austin Riley just might have a future in this game. (Sarcasm intended.) The former DeSoto Central High standout, whose poor start this season had some questioning Atlanta’s faith in the young third baseman, put up his first career two-homer game and also smacked a double on Friday night during the Braves’ record-setting 20-1 win against Pittsburgh. Riley is batting .417 with four homers over his last seven games. Over his last 30 games, he is hitting .366. “(W)hen he’s going, that’s a guy that can carry us,” pitcher Ian Anderson said in an mlb.com piece. With that hope in mind, Braves manager Brian Snitker has moved Riley up to the fifth spot in the lineup for a Braves team searching for consistent punch. Riley is batting .316 with seven homers and 15 RBIs this season. His recent tear is reminiscent of the one he enjoyed as a rookie in 2019, when he clubbed seven homers and hit .375 in his first 14 games. Since that time, he has endured some slumps and even a trip back to the minors. But he appears to have locked in on something of late. He has been much more selective, drawing more walks and not chasing sliders. His OBP of .410 is 100 points higher than where he finished 2020. Chipper Jones has raved about Riley’s new approach at the plate. Plus, he’s an outstanding defensive third baseman. So, yeah, this Riley guy might be around a while.

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