Rookie left-hander Sean Newcomb will be on the mound for the 19th time in 2017 as he takes on the New York Mets at Citi Field Wednesday, marking the final start of his rookie season with the Atlanta Braves.
Through 18 starts, the 24-year-old is 4-8 and boasts a 4.26 ERA, 4.26 FIP and 4.56 xFIP. He’s looked dominant throughout the second half of the season, allowing three or fewer earned runs in four straight games and in 10 of his last 11 starts. He faced New York’s lineup two starts ago, allowing two earned on six hits and striking out eight while walking one and picking up the win in Atlanta’s 3-2 victory.
Despite a heavy reliance on his fastball his last time out against the Philadelphia Phillies that drastically diminished the usage of his changeup, the southpaw has shown a steady growth of confidence in the secondary pitch over the past few games. Per FanGraphs, five starts ago he threw his changeup roughly 11.7 percent of the time. The following game he used it 14.9 percent of the time, followed by 21.3 percent and 22.2 percent in the ensuing starts.
Wednesday will be a chance for the southpaw to come full circle as his major league debut came against the Mets on June 10. He looked brilliant, allowing one unearned run while striking out seven and issuing a pair of walks over 6 1⁄3 innings pitched. Unfortunately for him, the Mets countered with Robert Gsellman, who pitched 6 2⁄3 shutout innings to help lead the Mets to a 6-1 victory and give Newcomb his first loss.
Gsellman will be on the mound for New York once again Wednesday night. He’s 7-7 this season with a 5.50 ERA, 5.13 FIP and 4.92 xFIP through 21 starts with the club. The right-hander allowed 10 earned runs on 16 hits and struck out two while walking four through nine innings pitched in his two starts against the Braves in 2017. In the next two starts against Atlanta, however, he allowed just one unearned run over 13 2⁄3 innings while striking out seven and walking a pair.
Freddie Freeman has found success against Gsellman in his career, going 5-for-13 (.385) with a pair of doubles. Conversely, New York’s Jose Reyes is 0-for-6 against Newcomb while Asdrubal Cabrera if 4-for-6 (.667).
This will mark the final time we see the Braves take on the Mets in 2017. The Mets lead the series 11-7 through 18 games so far this year, but Atlanta currently maintains a 3.5 game lead over New York for third place in the National League East division standings.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, September 27, 7:10 p.m. ET
Location: Citi Field, Flushing, NY
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, Braves Radio Network