Sean Newcomb has not made a start for the Braves since April 13th when the team decided that his skill-set might be better suited in the bullpen.
Since then Newcomb has been nothing short of fantastic through 16 relief outings. However, with Kevin Gausman going down with “plantar fasciitis” last week Newcomb will be pressed into starting duty until Dallas Keuchel is deemed ready to make his debut.
Newcomb started 30 games for Atlanta in 2018 and was decent with a 3.90 ERA and 4.14 FIP which netted him 1.9 fWAR as a second year man. The only problem for Newcomb has always been walks because he has some tremendous stuff. Thankfully it seems he has been able to slow things down in the pen and actually has his BB/9 below 3.00 in 2019 which is a great sign.
His opponent will be the always difficult Aaron Nola for Philadelphia. Nola had some really rough starts at the beginning of this season which explains his unusually high ERA of 4.58. However, of late he has been the same old Nola who casually posted a 5 win season in 2018 to the tune of a 2.37 ERA and 3.01 FIP.
2019 is a conundrum for Nola as he has been striking out more batters, but also issuing walks at a much higher rate. As a result of his wild streaks batters are able to focus in on fastballs, which have really become the one pitch he can command on a regular basis, and they’re hitting them out of the yard.
Nola owns a 19.3% HR/FB ratio(!) which is astronomically high to go along with his 1.29 homers allowed per nine innings. Regression is happening as luck begins to level out, but Nola really has struggled for some unknown reason this season. So the Braves will just have to hope either he shows up with another clunker or that they’re able to get him out of the game quickly.
Atlanta knows how valuable it can be to get into the Phillies pen early and often. Don’t believe me? Just ask Brian McCann how much he likes facing Hector Neris.
Stay tuned to see if they can run the win streak to nine games.
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Saturday, June 15, 2019
7:20 pm EDT
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, MLB Network, MLB.tv
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network
XM Radio: XM 183 (Streaming 841)