An ugly road trip ended on a positive note for the Atlanta Braves, who defeated the Miami Marlins 6-4 Sunday to cap off a 2-4 trip. The Braves briefly reached the .500 mark with a win in Philadelphia Tuesday to begin the trip, but then lost four straight before Sunday’s win. Atlanta is 30-33 on the season and are one of just three teams in the majors that have not had a winning record at any point this season. Atlanta enters play Monday in third place in the NL East, two games back of the Phillies and five back of the Mets.
Ronald Acuña Jr. left Sunday’s win in the fifth inning with what the team called right pectoral tightness. Brian Snitker said after the game that pulling Acuña was precautionary and that he wanted to remain in the game. However, the Braves weren’t going to take any chances. While the team has said they don’t think the issue is anything serious. it is something worth keeping an eye on heading into Tuesday’s game.
The 2021 season has been a tough one for Freddie Freeman, who has continued to hit the ball hard, but hasn’t gotten much to show for it. Freeman’s luck started to change at the end of the road trip, going 7-for-18 at the plate with a double and two home runs. Atlanta’s offense just hasn’t been able to get in sync but getting Freeman back in the groove of results matching inputs would be a huge first step. Among all players with 100 or more PAs this season, Freeman has the 13th-best xwOBA but also the ninth-biggest gap between his wOBA and his xwOBA.
The Braves split a pair of games in Boston a couple of weeks ago. The Red Sox have been one of the bigger surprises of the 2021 season with a 39-27 record. They enter play Monday three games back of the Rays for the lead in the AL East. After a sizzling start, they’ve looked more pedestrian lately, as they’ve won just one series in June, a sweep at Yankee Stadium. Boston will wrap up a four-game series with the Blue Jays on Monday night before heading south for Tuesday’s opener in Atlanta.
Tuesday, June 15, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)
Eduardo Rodriguez (12 GS, 62.2 IP, 25.8 K%, 6.3 BB%, 6.03 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 3.49 xFIP, 138 ERA-)
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the start in Tuesday’s series opener for the Red Sox. After a good start to the season, Rodriguez has struggled mightily of late. He was tagged for six hits and six runs in just 4 2/3 innings in his last start against the Astros. Rodriguez has allowed four runs or more in five of his last six starts and hasn’t made it out of the fifth inning in three of his last four. While his peripherals are still fantastic, he has allowed a homer in four straight starts. The Braves will hope that his streak of underperforming his walk and strikeout tallies will keep up for another game. Early on in the season, Rodriguez was dominating opposing hitters by relentlessly pounding the zone, something that offenses may have caught up to. We’ll see whether the Braves are prepared for this approach, or if Rodriguez flips that script on them.
Tucker Davidson (3 GS, 17.2 IP, 20.0 K%, 10.0 BB%, 1.53 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 4.24 xFIP, 38 ERA-)
Tucker Davidson was impressive in his first road start in Philadelphia, holding the Phillies to just four hits over six scoreless innings. He has allowed a total of three runs in his three starts combined and just five hits over 11 2/3 innings spanning his last two. He has been a much-needed shot in the arm for the Braves’ rotation after the loss of Huascar Ynoa. Davidson has made it work so far despite an unusual arsenal that features a fastball with almost no horizontal movement and a harder-than-usual slider and a lot of walks.
Wednesday, June 16, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)
Garrett Richards (13 GS, 70.1 IP, 19.7 K%, 11.0 BB%, 4.09 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 4.43 xFIP, 94 ERA-)
Garrett Richards will get the nod for Boston in Wednesday’s series finale. After a great May, Richards has had a little tougher time of things in June, but still has good numbers overall. He allowed 11 hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last start against the Blue Jays. That was the first time he had allowed more than three runs in a start since May 8. Richards faced the Braves back on May 25 where he allowed six hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Ian Anderson (12 GS, 66.1 IP, 25.1 K%, 9.5 BB%, 3.26 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.43 xFIP, 80 ERA-)
After struggling for two straight starts, Ian Anderson bounced back with a strong performance in Philadelphia where he limited the Phillies to just four hits over seven scoreless frames. That snapped a string of two starts where he failed to get out of the fifth inning while allowing a combined eight runs.