The Braves begin play on Friday with a three-game lead in the NL East with hopes of extending that lead over the weekend against Washington. The club rolled into town fresh off a record-setting 29-run outburst on Wednesday, only to forge a comeback victory over the Nationals a night later. The offense continues to bail out an abysmal Braves rotation, but Josh Tomlin will look to change those fortunes as he takes the ball on Friday.
Tomlin is a finesse pitcher in every sense of the word. His fastball rarely exceeds 90 MPH, but he throws strikes and maneuvers his way through as best he can. That recipe was very successful in relief a year ago, but with such a depleted rotation, Atlanta has needed to utilize Tomlin in a starting role in 2020. Those starts have not been great, but in Tomlin’s defense much of that can be attributed to his struggles once his pitch count is elevated. Tomlin has yet to allow a run in the first inning this year (sounds like a good reliever), but has struggled mightily in the second and third innings. Hitters have simply not been fooled after getting a quick look at the right-hander, which will need to change on Friday if the Braves hope to gift their bullpen with any semblance of rest.
Opposing Tomlin will be Nationals right-hander Erick Fedde, who owns a 5.29 ERA in 32 innings. Fedde lives at the bottom of the zone, featuring a sinker that he throws about 45% of the time. He also mixes in a curveball and cutter, along with split-finger. Fedde does not generate a lot of swing-and-miss, striking out just 12 batters in those 32 innings, which bodes well for a Braves lineup that has some of the best contact quality in baseball.
This should be an interesting game, and given the pitching matchup could certainly devolve into a slugfest like so many of the Braves’ contests this season. Tomlin does throw strikes, but where those strikes end up will determine just how powerful the Braves offense will need to be in order to secure another victory in Washington this evening.
Game Date/Time: Friday, September 11, 6:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, FS1, MLB.tv
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network