The Braves return home Tuesday night to kick off a six-game homestand.
Ronald Acuña’s absence has seemed to zap some of the momentum the Braves had built up in the early part of the season. As he works his way back towards the lineup, we have been watching a talented team who is not playing up to its relentless potential. Tonight, they can hopefully change that and round back into form. Here is how Brian Snitker will line the team up tonight:
They will face local kid Zack Wheeler, who hails from Smyrna. During his career, he is 4-2 against Atlanta over 8 starts, all of which came before the Braves rebuild began. On the season, Wheeler is 2-4 with a 4.57 ERA. He has been inconsistent in 2018, using strong outings against lesser competition - Marlins (2x), Padres, Reds, Blue Jays, and Orioles - to keep his numbers from getting out of hand.
The back half of the Braves’ lineup take a slightly different configuration, with Johan Camargo hitting sixth, Ender Inciarte seventh, and Charlie Culberson hitting eighth and playing left.
The only Brave with any meaningful experience against Wheeler is Freddie Freeman, who has crushed him. Though he hasn’t faced him in several years, Freddie is hitting a robust .500/.667/.857/1.524 against him with a home run, two doubles, and nine walks. Tyler Flowers, who hits 5th, has homered and been hit by a pitch in his only two plate appearances against Wheeler.
On the other side, Mike Foltynewicz will toe the mound for Atlanta. With the exception of one unsightly inning against the San Francisco Giants on May 4, Folty has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Outside of that one ugly start, he has not allowed more than 2 earned runs in any of his starts in 2018.
Tonight, he will take on a Mets team that has given him fits in the past. He has not faced them since 2016, but all things considered, he carries a gnarly 10.45 ERA over three career starts. His last start against them was his first since having part of a rib removed to alleviate blood clots, and the Mets were coming off their World Series berth.
Both Folty and the Mets lineup have evolved considerably since their last match up in 2016, so hopefully he can clean up his overall line a bit. Here’s how the Mets will roll out tonight:
Despite leaving Sunday’s game with hamstring tightness, Asdrubal Cabrera will bat cleanup tonight. He is 3-for-5 against Folty in his career with a homer. Luckily, none of the three Mets who have done with most damage against him in his career - Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, and Wilmer Flores - find themselves in the lineup. Cespedes’ rehab stint recently took a step in the wrong direction, while Bautista and Flores will come off the bench,
First pitch is scheduled for 7:35pm EST.