Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves will close out the 2021 regular season Sunday afternoon at Truist Park against the New York Mets. The Braves wrapped up a four straight division title earlier this week and are now playing out the string while preparing for the NLDS which will get underway Friday.
Brian Snitker confirmed Saturday that Morton will be Atlanta’s Game 1 starter. It is a deserved honor as he has been the team’s most consistent performer out of the rotation in 2021. Morton has put up impressive numbers in his age-37 season, so much so that the Braves have already inked him to an extension for 2022. Morton has a 3.39 ERA and a 3.20 FIP in 183 innings. He will be making his 33rd start of the season Sunday which is a testament to the durability he has shown. He is coming off an excellent start where he struck out 10 while allowing just three hits over seven shutout innings against the Phillies.
New York’s starter Sunday will be right-hander Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard finally made his return to the mound earlier this week after a prolonged absence due to Tommy John surgery. He tossed a scoreless inning in his return while striking out two against the Marlins. His fastball sat in the 96-97 mph range but he looked healthy. He won’t be expected to go deep into Sunday’s game with a one to two inning stint most likely.
The Braves are spending the final days of the season evaluating their options for their bullpen. Atlanta recalled Dylan Lee and selected the contract of right-handed prospect Spencer Strider on Friday. Lee tossed a scoreless inning Friday but gave up a two-run home run to Michael Conforto Saturday. Strider made his major league debut Friday and allowed two hits, including a solo home run to Brandon Nimmo, in an inning of work. Strider will likely pitch again in Sunday’s game.
His spot on the postseason roster probably isn’t in jeopardy but the Braves have to be somewhat concerned about the Richard Rodriguez’s performance of late. Rodriguez allowed three hits and two more runs in just two-thirds of an inning Saturday. He has a 5.25 ERA and an 8.41 FIP since September 1 and his strikeout rate has gone off a cliff. Since joining the Braves, Rodriguez has an 8.5% strikeout rate and a 4.7% walk rate. That equates to just over 3 K/9.
Sunday’s game is scheduled to get underway at 3:20 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports Southeast.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, October 3, 3:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network