After avoiding a sweep in San Francisco, the Braves are hoping to start turning things around on the right path as they continue their road trip out West with a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After having to deal with the best team in the National League, the Braves will now be dealing with a bit of competitive whiplash since they’ll now be facing the worst team in the NL — a team that has already lost 100 games, at that. They’re also not really playing well at the moment (as you’d expect of a team that has only won 48 games all year), as they’ll be heading into this game 3-7 in their last ten games. That included a gauntlet where the Diamondbacks had to play a Mariners team that’s fighting for a Wild Card spot, an Astros team that is leading the AL West and a Dodgers team that is fighting the Giants for the NL West.
Arizona took two against Seattle, zero against the Dodgers and one against the Astros. All of those teams have their eyes on the Postseason and if the Braves are serious about returning to the Postseason, they’re going to have to follow their lead and take care of business in the desert against the Diamondbacks. They have to reach the standard that’s already been set previously. Splitting the series is gonna be the bare minimum here, winning the series would be great and getting a sweep here would be golden. Still, the Braves haven’t been playing too well as of late, themselves, so nothing’s really guaranteed here.
With that being said, the Braves can go a long way to calming nerves a bit if they can take the first game of this series — one where the Diamondbacks are sending Humberto Mejia to the mound for his sixth career start and his third in a Diamondbacks uniform. Mejia’s basically been pretty average for the D-Backs ever since he made his Arizona debut in late-August. He gave up two runs in five innings against the Pirates, then followed that up with four runs in six innings against the Phillies. Hopefully the Braves can figure out a way hit him hard — especially like the Phillies did, as they hit two homers against Mejia. The Braves still have some guys who can hit ‘em a long way, and hopefully they can get it done tonight.
Huascar Ynoa would appreciate the help. Tonight will be Ynoa’s seventh start since returning from his hand injury and things have been mostly up but sometimes down for Ynoa since coming back. In his last outing at home against Colorado, he finished with eight strikeouts and two runs allowed, but also didn’t get out of the fifth inning. This was after he tossed seven strikeouts and gave up two over five innings against the Nationals.
Obviously, you’d like to see Ynoa start getting deeper into games and tonight would be a good night for that to happen. The Diamondbacks as a team have the third-lowest wRC+ (84) in all of baseball and their Isolated Power as a team (.145) currently has them at the fourth-lowest spot in the bigs. Getting hit hard by Arizona would be bad news for Ynoa and the rest of the Braves pitching staff and hopefully that doesn’t happen.
Again, just because Arizona is bad, that doesn’t mean that this is going to be a walkover for the Braves. I’m hoping that they learned this lesson earlier this season, when the Diamondbacks went into Cobb County and embarrassed the Braves during that infamous doubleheader back on April 25. For lack of a better term, this could end up being a snake pit trap game for the Braves, and they can’t afford to get trapped here — not when Philadelphia is going to be facing off against the AL’s worst team this week. It is absolutely imperative that the Braves get the job done against this Diamondbacks team this week, and it would be great if they started things off with a win tonight.
Game Date/Time: Monday, September 20, 9:40 p.m. ET
Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network