After bouncing back to even the series thanks to an emphatic performance on offense, the Braves are facing off against the Twins in a matinee rubber match of what’s already been an entertaining series so far.
The Braves got a big boost from Mike Foltynewicz pitching well in his return to the big league club and they’ll be banking on another strong outing from Max Fried in order to get a streak of good starting pitching performances going. He’ll be entering this game hot off the heels of a solid effort against the Reds. The best part of that performance was that Fried actually made it into the seventh inning of that game and likely would have gone deeper had it not been for rain calling the game off. I’m sure he’s glad to have a Complete Game on his record, though — no matter if it was rain-shortened or not.
Anyways, he’ll be taking on a Twins team that has already proven in both games that they can hit the ball and hit it pretty hard, to boot. The big question for today’s game is whether or not Max Fried can prevent the Twins from teeing off on him. So far, 36.1 percent of the contact that Fried has allowed this season has been Hard Contact according to FanGraphs. For comparison’s sake, Mike Soroka is currently sitting on 34.2 percent in that department.
Soroka was able to prevent the Twins (who will be going into this game with 41.4 percent of their batted balls being of the Hard Contact variety, which is good for second place in the AL and just ahead of the Braves, who are at 41.1 percent) from really doing any major damage while he was in the game, so the obvious hope is that Fried can avoid falling into Minnesota’s clutches and can keep their offense from lifting off like they did in the latter stages of last night’s game.
On the other side of things, Martin Perez will take the mound for the Twins and he’ll be hoping to get things under control after two of his past three starts have gone awry. The Yankees and Royals both tagged him for five runs apiece and sandwiched in between those starts, he went six innings and gave up three runs against the White Sox. He hasn’t been having a great time over his most recent few starts but the he’s also been getting bailed out a bit by the fact that the Twins offense is very dangerous and can put up some offense at any time.
A 4.58 ERA and a 4.44 FIP both seem to indicate that Perez could be vulnerable to a Braves offense that is also dangerous and has proven just last night that they can put up big numbers — and against Jose Berrios, at that. It would be a huge shock if the Braves didn’t at least pick up three-to-four runs against Perez today, as a shutdown performance from Perez has been hard to find at this stage of the season.
I would not be shocked if we saw more offensive fireworks today. If Max Fried can get through six innings, then maybe the Braves could enter the relief pitching section of the game either in the lead or in the conversation. The Braves offense should be able to follow in the footsteps of other teams and get some work done against Martin Perez. Either way, I personally feel like this series could end with a bang.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, August 7, 1:10 p.m. ET
Location: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: Fox Sports South, MLB Network (out-of-market only)
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network