After seeing their winning streak end at a whopping nine games, the Braves are looking to make sure they don’t start a losing streak with another loss to the Yankees tonight.
As usual, the Braves have to like their chances in any game where Charlie Morton is starting. He’s really gotten into a groove with each passing month in this season and he’s become an extremely reliable option for the Braves whenever his turn in the rotation comes up. He’s also got a recent track record of doing well against the Yankees in 2021 — back on April 20 in the Bronx, Morton went six innings while allowing only one run in a game that the Braves unfortunately lost. With that being said, both of these teams are much different now in August when compared to what they were like in April, so things may be different here in August.
With that being said, they may not be too different for Morton. Charlie’s gone at least six innings in all but two of his last 12 starts and in that 12-start span, he’s only given up more than three runs one time. The Yankees lineup should prove a pretty stern test for Morton but at the same time, he’s been on a very good run as of late and it wasn’t too long ago when these guys were divisional rivals, so he’s used to seeing them. Even though this Yankees lineup is full of big boppers, I’d feel confident in Charlie Morton finding a way to navigate through this lineup in order to give his own lineup a chance to win this one.
Meanwhile, Andrew Heaney is getting the ball from the Yankees to start this one. Heaney has been a little all over the place recently — while he did pitch a gem against the Red Sox in his last outing, that was after three straight starts where he gave up seven, four, and four runs again. One thing that has been a constant for Heaney is that he’s been very prone to giving up the long ball — he’s given up 25 dingers this season (for comparison’s sake, Drew Smyly has given up 23 this year!) and he’s had five different starts this year where he’s given up at least three home runs — including an outing on August 2 where he gave up four round-trippers to the Orioles.
This is probably really concerning for the Yankees when you figure in that the Braves as a team have hit the third-most homers in all of baseball (182) and have the third highest Isolated Power average (.188) in the big leagues. I would be shocked if the Braves didn’t hit at least one home run tonight and they should have plenty of opportunities to go for the fences this evening. This isn’t to say that Heaney is a bad pitcher who should be overlooked, but it is to say that this particular pitching matchup should play right into Atlanta’s strengths and they have a golden opportunity to take advantage of a guy who is giving up nearly two home runs per nine innings.
Tonight, the Braves find themselves in relatively unfamiliar position — at least as far as the 2021 season is concerned. They lost a game, but it didn’t put them under .500 or hurt them deeply in the standings. They’ve earned themselves some room for error thanks to their stellar play over the past month, but now’s not the time to slow down. Instead, they’ve got a good opportunity to split this series against a team that is surging just like they are and show that they’re on equal footing for this two game series, at least. The atmosphere will probably be just as intense tonight as it was last night, so this should be some fun baseball to watch tonight.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, August 24, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Bally Sports Southeast, MLB Network (out-of-market only)
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network