After pulling off a dramatic walk-off victory thanks to Ozzie Albies sending one into the Chop House in extra innings, the Braves will enter tonight’s game trying to pick up a series victory against the Reds — with the outside hope that they can once again expand their advantage on their divisional rivals.
Tonight, the Braves will see a familiar foe in a new uniform as Matt Harvey will be getting the ball for the Reds as their starting pitcher. Harvey is currently in Cincinnati for the sole purpose of being bandied about as trade bait and so far, he hasn’t been too bad at all for Cincy. He’s had a couple of clunkers for starts but he’s starting to come into his own, as evidenced by his most recent outing when he held the Cubs to just two runs over six innings with six strikeouts and just one walk.
That performance is in stark contrast to the last time when we saw Matt Harvey pitch in SunTrust Park. In that game back in April, Harvey went six innings but it was a rough six innings as the Braves dinged him for eight hits and six runs — including a two-run homer from Kurt Suzuki that really got the ball rolling.
That game was actually better than his final outing as a Met, which also came against the Braves in a relief stint. The Braves didn’t give him any relief that time as they punished him for the final five runs of an eventual 11-0 laugher for the Braves. Atlanta’s proven that they can hit Harvey hard this season, so it’s only a matter of execution as they face him for the third time this year.
Meanwhile, since Anibal Sanchez has spent the past few years in the American League, that means that a lot of the current Reds have little-to-no experience facing the crafty veteran, so we don’t have too much data to glean upon when it comes to matchups from the past. I will take this time to say that Sanchez has given the Braves all they could have asked of him through seven starts so far this season. Seriously, I think all of you would have taken a 2.55 ERA and a 4.31 FIP at this point of the season.
With that being said, it would be nice if he didn’t give up four runs again, like he did in his last start against the Blue Jays. With that being said, he won’t have to worry about the Reds lineup having as much power in it as Toronto’s and if Cincinnati continues to do stuff like having one of their only productive hitters voluntarily give up an out in order to move over the runners then maybe Anibal Sanchez will be fine tonight.
As usual, it’ll be interesting to see how the Braves handle playing against “lower-level” competition. They at least managed to avoid getting swept by Baltimore but they did manage to extinguish the red-hot Reds’ winning streak at the first time of asking so maybe they’re getting better at this? Either way, it would be nice to see the Braves continue to take care of business in this series.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 26, 7:07 p.m. ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network