Remember a few days ago, when the Braves had just won six straight and had an arguably reasonable chance of avoiding 100 losses for the season? Well, those days may be behind us, as the Braves have skidded to losses in their last four, including a sweep at the hands of the division-leading Nationals, and then a late-inning meltdown in the series opener against the Mets last night.
The Braves need to win nine more games to avoid 100 losses for the season, and they have a chance to do it tonight while also snapping the Mets’ six-game winning streak. The Mets’ recent success has put them even more thickly into the gruel that is the National League Wild Card (Lightning Round) race, as they currently hold the second spot via a half-game.
The pitching matchup for this one features John Gant and Bartolo Colon. Colon apparently loves pitching at Turner Field (and fine dining), as he’s had very good run prevention success there (1.51 ERA in six starts) for his career. He did more of the same along these lines to the Braves in June (seven innings, six hits, a Freddie Freeman solo homer and no other runs, despite one walk and two strikeouts), but actually lost that game as Bud Norris decided to surprise everyone with seven shutout innings. (The Braves won 5-2 after both bullpens allowed some runs late.) Colon also beat the Braves in New York back in May, with eight dominating shutout innings, allowing just seven baserunners while striking out seven.
Of additional interest beyond Colon will be John Gant’s sixth career start. Gant has played the role of “human yo-yo” across multiple scenarios this season, but will actually make a second consecutive turn in the rotation tonight (surprise!). Gant’s only major league win actually came against these very same Mets in his second career start, when he allowed just two hits and one run while pitching into the seventh. Gant’s 4.70 ERA on the season is elevated from BABIP (.330) and a low strand rate (66.7%) but the FIP and xFIP are reasonable at 3.90 and 3.94, respectively.
AJ Pierzynski is apparently starting in this game for some reason, so hold on to your butts. Also, due to Chase d’Arnaud’s foot injury, the Braves have added Daniel Castro to the active roster.
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 7:10 pm ET
Turner Field, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, 680 AM / 93.7 FM