Drew Smyly will take the mound for Atlanta on Saturday, as the Braves look to extend their winning “streak” to three and keep the embers of their playoff hopes alive. Smyly has had a very rough reason, due in no small part to an inexplicable insistence to have him face the third time through the order, despite there being a solid sample of him struggling deeply the third time around. This tale is displayed quite clearly by his ERA splits, as his ERA the first time through the order is a solid 4.13. The second time through the order, it increases to 5.40, while it skyrockets to 9.58 the third time through the order. His FIP is actually similar in the second and third times through the order, although his xFIP fits the trend more cleanly.
Esteemed veteran, Adam Wainwright will take the mound for St. Louis. Wainwright is having a good season, even at the advanced age of 39. Waino sports a good 3.95 ERA, with a 4.22 FIP and a 3.92 xFIP. After being drafted by the Braves but somewhat infamously traded, we’ll hope he can do them a favor with a shaky outing.
On the offensive side, Acuna, Freeman, Albies, Riley, and Contreras all come off strong Friday games. Acuna has really picked up the pace on the basepaths of late, and has revived buzz of a potential 40-40 season, He currently stands at 18 HRs and 15 SB, on pace for 45 home runs and 38 stolen bases. Not quite on pace to get it done, but close enough to keep our eyes fixed on him wherever he is on the field, with plenty of time left in the season.
Perhaps this can be another step in the right direction of the march towards .500, which has seemingly been a glass ceiling for the team so far this season. Now 5.5 games back from the divisional lead (although 7 in the loss column), and wins away from .500, The Braves really need to kick it in to gear now, especially with a four game series with the NL East leading Mets looming, the Braves need to enter that series running on all cylinders.
Saturday, June 19, 2021
7:15 pm EDT
Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Bally Sports Southeast, MLB Network (out-of-market), MLB.tv
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM
XM Radio: Ch. 89