A six-game road trip will get underway for the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night when they begin a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta just completed a 4-3 home stand against two of the NL west’s best teams in the Giants and the Dodgers. Atlanta took three of four from San Francisco and came within a strike twice in the ninth inning of a series win against Los Angeles. The Dodgers rallied from a two-run deficit against Kenley Jansen and went on to win 5-3 in 11 innings.
Even more problematic, the Braves placed Jansen on the 15-day injured list Tuesday with an irregular heartbeat. That is an issue that Jansen has dealt with multiple times throughout his career with the last coming in 2018. He underwent heart surgery in November of that season to help correct the issue. Atlanta recalled right-hander Jesus Cruz to take Jansen’s spot on the active roster. A.J. Minter and Will Smith seem like the most likeliest candidates to fill the closer role while Jansen is out.
There is also questions around the status of outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña exited Saturday’s game after the eighth inning due to soreness in his left foot. He fouled a ball off the foot during the third inning and said that the pain became worse as the game continued. X-rays and an MRI came back clean, but Acuña was on a scooter in the clubhouse Sunday and said he was unable to put any weight on the foot. With Acuña sidelined Sunday, Adam Duvall shifted to right field with Marcell Ozuna in left and William Contreras as the DH.
The Phillies are dealing with a high profile injury of their own. Bryce Harper suffered a broken thumb Saturday when he was hit by a pitch from Blake Snell. Harper will undergo surgery and is hopeful that he will be able to return at some point this season. The loss of Harper will be a huge blow to the Phillies’ offense as he was again putting up MVP level numbers hitting .318/.385/.599 with 15 home runs and a 166 wRC+.
Charlie Morton will get the start for Atlanta in the opener. Morton struggled early on this season, but seems to be turning the corner in June. Morton has gone seven innings in each of his past two starts and has allowed two runs combined. He struck out 11 in his last start against the Giants giving him 40 through four starts in June. By comparison, Morton had 46 strikeouts total over his first 10 starts.
The Braves will have their work cut out for them against Zack Wheeler who has put together another strong season. Wheeler is coming off of his shortest outing since April where he allowed seven hits and four runs (two earned) in just 4 1/3 innings against the Rangers. He faced the Braves back in Atlanta in late May and struck out 10 while allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Tuesday’s game is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports South.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 28, 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan