The Braves have been decimated by injuries early on, but have managed to play well in spite of compromised depth. Mike Soroka and Ozzie Albies have each hit the injured list this week and still the Braves enter play Thursday with an opportunity to win the series against the Blue Jays. The finale will feature an exciting matchup of two young hurlers with electric stuff. Atlanta will feature Touki Toussaint, who impressed last week in his first start of the season. Toronto will counter with top prospect Nate Pearson, who was even more impressive in his major league debut against the Nationals last Wednesday.
Toussaint has been wildly inconsistent during the early portion of his major league career, often battling control issues, but managed to work around bouts with wildness against the Mets on Saturday. He walked three batters, hit another, and allowed three hits in four innings, but did not allow a run and struck out five. The right-hander flashed the incredible stuff that has allowed many to dream on what Toussaint could become, but did so with runners all over the basepaths. He will look to clean up the box score in this outing as he attempts to cement a spot in the rotation for the remainder of the season and beyond.
Toussaint features a fastball that can touch the upper-90’s with arm-side run, along with a curveball, split finger, and slider. Last season the curveball and split finger were his best offerings by a wide margin, with opponents managing an xwOBA of just .242 against the curveball and .191 against the split finger. If Toussaint can find more consistency with his fastball, against which opponents managed a .429 xwOBA (four-seam and two-seam combined), his ceiling would rise significantly.
Toronto will feature one of the best young arms in baseball, with rookie Nate Pearson making his second career start. The Blue Jays were understandably excited for the arrival of Pearson, whose fastball hovers around triple digits on most nights, and were handsomely rewarded as he fired five shutout innings against the Nationals. Pearson is imposing on the mound, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 250 lbs. His ability to maintain velocity deep into games in the minor leagues contributed to his lofty prospect ranking, and should serve him well at the major league level. Pearson also features a slider, curveball, and changeup, of which the slider grades out best. With just one major league start, there is limited Statcast information upon which to build a profile, but the fastball stands out regardless.
Neither side will feature hitters with experience against these two young arms, which should aid them as they look to build off their most recent starts. The Braves offense struggled mightily on Wednesday, but will look to bounce back against a youthful opponent. Pearson may be young, but his stuff will likely present issues for Braves hitters provided he is able to command those offerings. This should be an excellent matchup, or at the very least an entertaining display by two dynamic pitchers with high ceilings.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 6, 7:10 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network