The Braves got an incredible performance from Max Fried on Thursday as they took the first of a four-game set against the Nationals. Tonight, Atlanta turns to another left-hander in Dallas Keuchel as he looks to continue a recent hot streak, while Washington will give the ball to Patrick Corbin.
Over his last four starts, Dallas Keuchel is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA, striking out 24 batters in 25 innings. Opponents are batting .264/.343/.319 over that stretch, as Keuchel has been remarkably stingy with extra-base hits. For the season, opponents have a .327 xwOBA against Keuchel with an 87.2 average exit velocity.
Keuchel primarily features a four-pitch arsenal, which includes a sinker, cutter, slider, and changeup. The slider has been the most effective pitch for Keuchel, allowing a .219 xwOBA this season, though it is also the least-utilized of the four offerings. The cutter has been surprisingly ineffective for Keuchel this season, with a .394 xwOBA despite being thrown 23% of the time. With a heavily right-handed Washington lineup awaiting Keuchel tonight, an effective cutter could neutralize much of their power. Brian Dozier (7-for-17, HR), Anthony Rendon (4-for-10), and Howie Kendrick (11-for-27, HR) have each had prior success against Keuchel.
The Nationals will counter with Patrick Corbin, who owns an 11-6 record with a 3.19 ERA, striking out 201 batters in 1742⁄3 innings. Corbin has faced the Braves twice this season, with a 1-0 record and 3.27 ERA, allowing 13 hits in 11 innings with 13 strikeouts.
Corbin primarily features two pitches, a fastball and slider, with each producing high swing-and-miss percentages. The Braves offense will be tested as they look to take advantage of Corbin, who does allow hard contact, as evidenced by his 39.9% hard-contact rate this season. The strikeout potential makes Corbin a tough matchup, but contact quality may allow Atlanta to feast on the left-hander. Josh Donaldson (5-for-10), Johan Camargo (5-for-15), and Adam Duvall (4-for-11) have each previously homered off Corbin and had considerable success against him in their careers.
The Braves have trimmed their magic number to win the NL East to just 15, and could cut two more games off that total tonight. In what is the most crucial stretch of the season coming up, Atlanta got a Cy Young-caliber performance from Max Fried a night ago. Can Dallas Keuchel follow suit?
Game Date/Time: Friday, September 6th, 7:20 PM
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network