The concept of “momentum” in baseball is a funny thing and it’s very fickle. With that being said, the Braves aren’t exactly catching the Rays at an opportune time. Tampa Bay is currently on an eight-game winning streak, which includes a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox over this past weekend. In fact, they actually started that winning streak against the Red Sox.
If this Rays team can take it to the Red Sox then surely the next two days are going to be a very stern challenge for our first-place Braves. The good news is that Atlanta’s pitching staff has stepped their game up as of late, which means that we can at least be encouraged of the fact that our hurlers are hitting their stride at the right time and should be able to keep the Rays inside of the ballpark.
Julio Teheran will be the latest member of the rotation tasked with keeping this strong run from the pitching staff going and based on his most recent performances, it sure seems like he’s going to be up to the task tonight. It seems like Julio is finally starting to get it together on the mound, as he’s had a string of solid starts so far in August. His outing last week in Pittsburgh was about as good as he’s looked all season. While it would have been nice to see this version of Julio earlier in the season, you have to figure that it’s better late than never and hopefully he can keep it up against the Rays and beyond, as well.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s “opener” will be Ryne Stanek, which is to say that we won’t see much of him as the game progresses. One of the most impressive parts about Tampa Bay’s success this season has been the fact that they’ve gotten this hot while basically deciding that starting pitching is superfluous and that they can rely on their entire bullpen to carry the load.
While Stanek will open things up for Tampa Bay, the bulk of the workload will be placed on the shoulders of Yonny Chirinos. He hasn’t exactly been super sharp in his past four appearances on the mound but the Rays’ bats have picked him up on occasion. So while we shouldn’t exactly expect ace-quality stuff from the 24-year-old righty, he’s going to eat some innings for Tampa Bay and that’s all that they’re asking of him at this point.
There’s plenty of intrigue as to how this one is going to play out. Most of Tampa Bay’s pitching staff has no experience against the current crop of Braves and the same could be said when you reverse the scenario with Julio Teheran and Tampa Bay’s lineup. Only Carlos Gomez has a healthy amount of experience against Julio and that includes a line of 4-for-18 with a homer, a double, two walks and nine strikeouts.
Basically, there’s no telling as to how this particular game will go. We could see the Rays continue to stay hot and force our beloved television commentary team to complain about how they’re “ruining the game” with their bullpen strategy, or we could see the Braves bring their road success back home and put a stop to Tampa Bay’s winning ways. Hopefully it’ll be the latter!
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, August 28, 7:35 PM ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network