It hasn’t been easy by any stretch, but the Atlanta Braves will try to complete a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds Thursday evening at Truist Park. The Braves took Tuesday’s opener 3-2 then saw a late lead slip away Wednesday night, but Ozzie Albies saved the day with a walk-off home run in the 11th for an 8-6 win.
That win improved the Braves record to 59-55 on the season and brought them even with the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL East lead. The Braves, Phillies and Mets will all begin play Thursday even in the loss column. New York is currently a game behind Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Kyle Muller will get the start for the Braves and will be looking to bounce back from a shaky outing last time out. Muller allowed two hits, two walks and three runs over 4 2/3 innings. He seemed to lose his fastball command and racked up 80 pitches through 4 2/3. Muller did well to limit the damage but the Braves will be looking for a bit more consistency Thursday.
The Reds will counter with right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez who will be making his 14th start of the season. Gutierrez held the Pirates to six hits and a run over six innings in his last start. He faced the Braves back on June 25 in Cincinnati where he allowed six hits and three runs over six innings. Dansby Swanson and Guillermo Heredia both tagged him for solo homers in that game and the Braves came away with a 3-2 win.
One thing to watch in Thursday’s game is how the Braves elect to handle their bullpen, particularly if they hold a lead late. Will Smith hit Nick Castellanos with a pitch with one out in the ninth in Wednesday’s game and then served up a game-tying two-run homer to Joey Votto. Smith has now allowed five hits, two walks and five runs over his last three appearances. He hasn’t had a clean inning in any of his last four appearances.
Thursday’s game has the early start time of 5:10 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports South.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 12, 5:10 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network