After suffering an ugly loss to the Dodgers last night, the Braves will be looking to even the series up so that they won’t be scrambling over the weekend in order to pick up a series split at the very least.
If they’re going to do it, then they’re going to have to figure out a way to get past Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers’ reigning ace has actually not been as dominant as we’re used to seeing and that’s mostly due to him having to deal with injuries for a decent chunk of the season so far. Still, we’re talking about Clayton Kershaw here. His K/9 is currently below 10 for the first time in a few years and his BB/9 is actually closer to the 2.0 mark than than being in the 1.5 range during those same few years.
If those numbers were connected to most other pitchers (especially a Braves pitcher!), you’d be thrilled. For Clayton Kershaw, it represents an “down year.” Still, the Braves will have to be on their A-game at the plate if they’re going to have a shot at evening this series up. Kershaw’s last two starts haven’t gone particularly well but again, if any pitcher in baseball has the ability and skill to dominate a game at any time of asking, it’s Kershaw.
On the other side of things, Mike Foltynewicz will be getting the start for the Braves tonight and he’ll be looking to break out of a bit of a rough patch over his past few starts. He’s given up at least four earned runs in each of his three starts this month, so this is his last chance to salvage the month of July.
Still, Folty has been having a lovely season so far and actually has a higher fWAR than Kershaw going into this game. Granted, Folty also has around 20 or so more innings under his belt this season than Kershaw, but you’re still doing pretty well for yourself if you’re a pitcher and can say that about yourself at this point of the season.
Basically, something has got to give tonight. Both of these pitchers are well aware that they can do better than what they’ve been producing lately, so we’re either going to see these guys get locked in and start pitching to their usual level or we could see a continuation of recent trends. It probably wouldn’t be wise to predict an offensive breakout against Kershaw but hey, now would be as goo of a time for the Braves as ever, right?
Game Date/Time: Friday, July 27, 7:35 PM ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network