The Atlanta Braves will try to clinch their sixth straight series win Saturday when they continue their series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Braves won the opener 3-0 behind a complete game shutout from Max Fried.
After a strong stretch in the middle of the season, Drew Smyly has struggled somewhat of late. He’s only managed four innings in four of his last five starts and has a 4.50 ERA over that stretch. While this isn’t awful, the inability to provide innings or actual good run-prevention is not ideal. The Orioles, despite being awful, have had pretty decent success against left-handed pitching (Fried’s Maddux last night notwithstanding) this season, so this isn’t really much of a reprieve for Smyly.
Fortunately for the Braves and for Smyly, the guy the Orioles are sending out to the mound has struggled far more. The ghost of Matt Harvey gets the start for Baltimore, with a 6.25 ERA over 108 innings so far this season. While the ERA is really ugly, the peripheral stats range from bad-but-not-THAT-bad to not-what-you-want-but-fine, with a 5.38 xERA, 4.57 FIP, and 4.80 xFIP. Perhaps Harvey isn’t truly awful as his ERA suggests, but he still should be a fairly soft target for a Braves offense that has been working quite well of late.
Another thing that Atlanta has going for them is that after an off-day and a Fried complete game, the bullpen is very well-rested and should be able to be used aggressively and Smyly can be limited to two times through the order...at least in theory.
Ultimately, this is the Orioles, of 16 straight losses and while baseball is baseball, the Braves are in a good spot to pick up another win behind probably their weakest starter in the rotation at the moment.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, August 21, 2021, 7:05 pm EDT
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network
XM Radio: Online / Ch. 178