While Interleague play may be a little run-of-the-mill nowadays and is especially going to be even more of a mundane event once the balanced schedule comes into play next season, there are still some rare occasions that are worth getting excited about just for novelty’s sake. Today is one of those days, as the Atlanta Braves are set to host only their fourth-ever home series against the Oakland Athletics.
It appears that both teams are going in opposite directions heading into this one. The Braves are riding the wave of a five-game winning streak as they’ve popped their heads above the crest of .500 for the first time since April. On the other side of things, the A’s are coming to Atlanta having lost six straight games (which isn’t even the worst losing streak in their division right now) and are comfortably in last place in the AL West right now. If an opposing team is mired in misery then you may as well just let them stay there, and hopefully the Braves will be able to make that happen tonight.
Atlanta’s starter tonight is Kyle Wright, who was last seen on the mound battling his way to six shutout innings against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. It was a strange start where Wright definitely did look like he was having a rough time out there (the five walks were a sign of that) but he was able to do his level best to keep the score line from taking damage. It wasn’t his best start but it’s the type of start that explains why this is shaping up to be a breakout season for Wright.
Hopefully tonight should be a little easier for Wright as he’s facing an Oakland team that currently has the second-worst team wRC+ in all of baseball (79; the Braves as a team currently have 101 wRC+). With that being said, he’s repeatedly shown the fortitude to right the ship when things are going wrong so if things do go wrong tonight, hopefully Kyle Wright will be able to get things going in the right direction again.
Meanwhile, Cole Irvin will be starting for Oakland tonight. If that name sounds familiar, then that’s because he used to pitch for the Phillies and made a handful of appearances against the Braves in 2019 and 2020. Irvin’s been allowed to spread his wings as a starting pitcher for the A’s and he’ll be coming into tonight’s game off of a decent start against the Astros. He got into the sixth inning against Houston and managed to limit them to just one run. Irvin’s been pretty consistent so far — he’s struck out exactly either two or four batters in each of his eight starts, he’s walked two batters at the most in each of his appearances and he hasn’t given up more than three earned runs since his first start of the season.
I’m saying that to say that this probably won’t be a cakewalk for the Braves tonight. I also must mention that the A’s are a better team on the road than they are at home — Oakland is 13-13 away from the Coliseum but they’re 7-23 in their home ballpark. I’m sure it doesn’t help that A’s home games are a truly dour experience at the moment but that’s still a strange split. The likely explanation is that the A’s have seen better results from their pitching on the road (seventh-best in MLB 3.48 road ERA, 4.19 FIP) than at home (third-worst in MLB 4.76 home ERA, 3.98 FIP) so far — it’s strange when you look at what their FIP splits are but baseball is a strange game, so there’s that.
Even though Oakland has been playing decent baseball on the road, this still feels like a game where the Braves just have to take care of business. Again, this A’s lineup is not great and the Braves are putting one of their better starters on the mound tonight. A sixth-straight win for Atlanta should be on the cards but we all know that baseball games aren’t played on paper and it still comes down to being the better team on the field. Atlanta’s been playing good baseball lately and it’s time to keep it going against a rarely-seen opponent.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, June 7, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan