It’s the first day of August, which means that it’s the first day after the trade deadline and the first day of the stretch run of the baseball regular season as we enter the final two months of this year’s campaign. Additionally, it’s also the first day of a brand new series as the fightin’ Reds come into town to face off against our Braves.
Both of these teams were busy at or near the deadline, so this means that the Reds will have a bit of a different look to them when compared to when the Braves visited them in Ohio earlier this season. However, they won’t be starting their prized deadline acquisition on the mound until Saturday’s game. Instead, Anthony DeSclafani will be getting the ball to start tonight’s game for Cincinnati. One thing about DeSclafani that stands out is that he can rack up some strikeouts. Ever since his first start of June, he’s got a K/9 of 10.10 over 49 innings of work. He’s definitely been getting better as the season progresses, since his 2.94 ERA and 3.04 FIP over the aforementioned time span is well below his 4.01 ERA and 4.41 FIP for the season.
At first glance, you could say that this means that the Braves are probably catching him at a bad time and probably would have been better off running into him earlier in the season in Cincinnati. With that being said, he’s got the potential to give up a home run or two tonight. During that stretch of 49 innings, he made two consecutive starts against Cleveland and the Cubs where he gave up two homers in each start. I’m not saying that we should expect the Braves to launch his pitches into orbit tonight, but I’m saying that it’s definitely a possibility with the way that we’ve seen this team swing the bat this season.
Meanwhile, Max Fried will be taking the mound and he’ll surely be happy to know that only going five innings won’t put any potential lead that he and the Braves may have in a precarious spot. Fried has lasted exactly five innings in three of his past four starts and in his last start against Philadelphia, he pitched five extremely smooth innings before the Phillies caught onto him and hit a pair of two-run homers off of him in the sixth inning. If the sixth inning is once again Fried’s limit, then he can rest easy knowing that the Braves have shored up their bullpen at the trade deadline and hopefully things won’t be nearly as stressful at that stage of the game.
If you remember, the Braves dropped the series in Cincinnati earlier this season. Additionally, the Reds have been playing just under .500 ball since the All-Star break so while it’s not like they’re hot coming into town like the Royals were, this still isn’t a series to just gloss over. These are four opportunities for the Braves to pick up some ground as the two most important months of the season get underway. Hopefully the Braves can build on their successful road trip and good deadline day with a nice win tonight.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 1, 7:20 PM ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network