The Braves have found little consistency from their starting staff in 2020, with injuries and ineffectiveness taking their toll on what was already a suspect group. Mike Soroka is out for the season, Cole Hamels has yet to provide even the slightest glimmer of hope for a return, and Felix Hernandez opted out. Losing those three arms would prove detrimental to any club, but figure in the complete ineffectiveness that saddled Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb during their brief stints in Atlanta and you have the kindling to start a dumpster fire. The Phillies and Yankees have poured gasoline all over those little sparks the past two days, leading many to wonder if the Braves may seek another arm on the trade market. As for today, Atlanta will look to Huascar Ynoa as they hope to even the series with the Yankees after a sound beating the last two nights.
Ynoa pitched 21⁄3 innings on Sunday as he was cast into the opener role, allowing one run before Tyler Matzek took over in the third inning. Given that Ynoa will be operating on just two days rest, it can be assumed that he will once again serve as an opener. The right-hander is well-suited for the role from the standpoint of pure stuff, as he features a fastball, slider, and a changeup. The primary offerings, the fastball and slider, are what make Ynoa such a valuable piece out of the bullpen and now as an abbreviated starter. The fastball can touch the upper-90’s but averages 94.1 MPH. Command has often plagued Ynoa, but allowed just one hit and one walk in his previous outing.
Opposing Ynoa today for New York will be veteran Masahiro Tanaka. The right-hander features an array of offerings but primarily relies on a fastball, split-finger, and slider, all of which he commands very well. The two offspeed pitches generate the best results, with opponents managing just a .310 xwOBA against the split-finger and .256 against the slider in 2019. Tanaka’s fastball sits in the low-90’s, so he will rely heavily on deception and command. Braves hitters do have some experience against Tanaka, with Freddie Freeman and Travis d’Arnaud having homered against him.
While the Atlanta rotation is currently in shambles, the bullpen has been excellent. They have seen their collective workload expand as Braves starters have worked less than five innings in 11 of 19 games thus far. Even with expanded rosters, this places a heavy burden on the relief corps, though they have answered the call admirably aside from the past two nights. While tonight’s game is likely to see yet another short outing from a Braves starters, given that Ynoa is acting as an opener, the club can at least prepare for the likelihood of making a change in the early going. In a perfect world, Ynoa can work through the Yankees lineup once, unscathed, and hand the ball to another short-stint starter. Tyler Matzek could fill that role as he did on Sunday, but time will tell.
Now sitting at 11-8 on the season, the Braves have been surprisingly competitive given their limitations, but a strong showing tonight would do them well after the atrocities that took place on Monday and Tuesday. The Marlins currently sit atop the NL East at 7-4, though with their limited volume of games it remains to be seen how legitimate they can become. Either way, the Braves would benefit from getting back in the win column and closing the gap.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, August 12, 7:05 p.m. EST
Location: Yankee Stadium
TV: Fox Sports South, YES
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network