The rotation roulette wheel has spun once again, and settled on Aaron Blair's name, as the Braves will call him back up from Gwinnett for this afternoon's start against the Marlins. Blair has largely sliced-and-diced AAA hitting (sub-2.00) ERA, but has had the opposite of success at the big league level.
As I said on the podcast, what's striking to me about Blair is that pretty much all his stats and peripherals are out of whack from where you'd want them, so this represents an opportunity for him to start righting the ship and putting into practice whatever he's learned about getting major league hitters out. It seems reasonably clear, to me at least, that Blair has figured out how to defeat minor league hitters, and now he needs to wrap himself in the next challenge, which he'll hopefully begin to do soon.
The Marlins counter with free agent signing Wei-Yin Chen. He's had a pretty average season so far, perhaps a little worse than expectations, but not much: 4.61/4.00/3.89 (ERA/FIP/xFIP). He's on pace to be about a 2 fWAR guy, undercutting his career 2.6ish fWAR/200. In his last start, he was knocked around by the Rays, allowing five runs and not escaping the sixth while walking and striking out three.
Chen faced the Braves earlier this season in a pretty good start, allowing two runs while pitching into the seventh. He struck out six and walked one, departing with the lead but having a win taken away from him when the Braves beat up on the Miami bullpen en route to a sweep.
Chen hasn't been back to Atlanta since his first season stateside, when he threw seven shutout innings against the Braves in his 12th career start. (Of course, this isn't strange, since he wasn't in the National League until this year.)
- The Braves avoided Christian Yelich in the lineup last night, as he hasn't started for a week with a back issue, but might actually start today. The same goes for Giancarlo Stanton, who has missed three games with "side soreness" but might return.
- While everyone is gawking at Jackie Bradley Jr.'s hitting streak, Marcell Ozuna has actually reached base in 34 straight games coming into today's game, which is the longest streak in the majors so far this year. He's only ten away from the Marlins' franchise record (44 games, Luis Castillo). Over his last nine games, Ozuna is hitting above .500, which A) small sample size and B) is still pretty crazy.
- Fredi Gonzalez memorial small sample size stat: Erick Aybar is 3-for-7 with a homer and two doubles against Chen in his career. But he may not play, due to getting hit by a pitch in last night's game.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, May 28, 4:10 p.m. ET
Location: Turner Field
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, 680 AM/93.7 FM