The Braves will play host to the White Sox for a three-game series this weekend. Fresh off a winding road trip that included stops in New York, Denver, and Toronto, the club must be relieved to return home and have a day off on Thursday. Atlanta enters play with a 51⁄2 game lead in the National League East, and will look to extend that lead against a White Sox team with a 60-73 record.
Drawing the start for Atlanta is left-hander Max Fried, who currently sports a 14-4 record with a 4.03 ERA and 3.79 FIP. Fried is fresh off a rocky start against the Mets, in which he gave up five runs in five innings, with the big blow coming courtesy of a moonshot three-run homer from Pete Alonso. The Braves will look for better results this time around as Fried tries to win his sixth consecutive decision and 15th game overall. Fried will feature a heavy dose of off-speed pitches, with his curveball and slider rating among the better offerings in baseball. While the effectiveness of his fastball leaves something to be desired, Fried mixes his pitches well enough to be very effective and should have a good matchup against the White Sox tonight.
The White Sox will counter with veteran right-hander Ivan Nova, owner of a 9-10 record with a 4.37 ERA and 4.89 FIP. With just 97 strikeouts across 1582⁄3 innings pitched, Nova has found it difficult to miss bats, which has contributed to his league-leading 179 hits allowed this season. The Braves will look to feast on Nova, who features a five-pitch arsenal that centers on his sinker. However, the only offering of those five to produce even decent results has been the cutter (.301 xwOBA), which Nova utilizes least.
Current Braves have limited exposure to Nova, though Josh Donaldson is 9-for-23 with a double and Dansby Swanson has a homer in nine career at-bats. The current iteration of Ivan Nova is hardly the one fans were accustomed to seeing from his time in New York and Pittsburgh, however, and his propensity for allowing hard contact could portend a nice evening for the Atlanta offense.
The Braves are back home, rested, and getting closer to full strength with regards to their injured regulars. With the Nationals coming to town next weekend, the Braves could continue trimming their magic number over the next five games against the White Sox and Blue Jays, and will begin those efforts tonight with a favorable matchup.
Game Date/Time: Friday, August 30, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network