In its inaugural season, the Braves have gone 37-43 at SunTrust Park so far. That’s not great, but they can at least end on a positive note by sweeping the Phillies in their last home game of the season. (Weird fact: the Braves have almost an even run differential on the road, but are seven games under .500. Meanwhile, they have a -73 run differential at home, but are six games under .500 there.)
The pitching matchup for the game features Luiz Gohara and Nick Pivetta. Gohara had a very peculiar outing last time out, allowing four runs in six and a third to the Nationals, but with all of the damage coming on balls in play, as he allowed zero homers and zero walks, while striking out four. It was the second time in a row that he allowed no walks or homers, and if he can keep doing that, the sky’s the limit.
Nick Pivetta is yet another guy in the long, long line of young starters the Phillies have thrown against the Braves this season. His season stats aren’t great (6.53 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 4.27 xFIP) in 24 starts, but suggest that he’s been getting quite unlucky with sequencing, balls in play, and fly balls. Over a couple of starts in mid-September, Pivetta allowed 13 runs in 10 innings despite a 9/1 K/BB ratio. However, in his most recent outing, he showed what can happen when chance swings his way, as he outdueled Clayton Kershaw and held the Dodgers to just two runs in six innings (both solo homers) while allowing two walks and picking up eight strikeouts.
The Braves have faced Pivetta twice this season. The first time, in early June, he allowed three runs in five innings, but the game was blowout as the Phillies crushed Bartolo Colon. Pivetta earned his first big league pitcher win as a result of the outing. He then started against the Braves in late July and allowed just one run in six innings as the Phillies jumped all over Mike Foltynewicz. Hopefully, the Braves can finally defeat the Phillies in a Nick Pivetta start this afternoon.
Freddie Freeman might return, after missing a game with an illness. He still needs two more dingers to finish with 30 on the year, which is pretty impressive given his lengthy absence this season. Meanwhile, the Ender Inciarte hit counter is currently at 194: he needs six more hits in the next nine games to reach the 200-hit plateau. Also, Kurt Suzuki will probably hit like seven more homers in this game, because Kurt Suzuki!
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
September 24, 2017
1:35 pm ET
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, Braves Radio Network