After losing the middle game of this series in Cleveland in extra innings, the Atlanta Braves are now looking to get right back on the winning track in the final game of this series against the Cleveland Guardians.
Tonight, the Braves get to face Cal Quantrill and this is probably the last team that Quantrill wants to see at this point in the season. After a few rough starts in May, Quantrill went on the IL due to shoulder inflammation and only recently returned back on June 30. The return was a near repeat of the start he made before going on the IL, where he gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks over just 3.1 innings. Quantrill has given up at least six runs in each of his past three starts and has given up at least three runs in all but three of the 12 starts that he’s made this season.
To put it bluntly, Cal Quantrill has been struggling to get going this season and this should be an opportunity for the Braves to pounce on him. Atlanta’s binge of offense in June has helped their lineup close the gap on Tampa Bay when it comes to the leaderboard in team wRC+. Right now, the Braves have a team wRC+ of 122, which is tops in the National League (12 points clear of the second-place Dodgers) and just two points behind the Rays for tops in all of Major League Baseball. They lead MLB in team wOBA with a .358 average (which is 11 percentage points clear of the Rangers) and they also have a scarcely-believable Isolated Power number of .225, which is also tops in all of baseball. If the Braves have a normal night and execute their gameplan at the plate, then this should end up being another short night on the mound for Quantrill.
The clear hope is that the offense can help make it another smooth night on the mound for Michael Soroka. Soroka is still adjusting to returning to pitching in MLB but his most recent start was a promising one... While he did give up three runs on two dingers against the Marlins in his last outing, he did go six innings while striking out seven batters and walking nobody. It wasn’t a dominating performance by any stretch of the imagination but it was the type of start that inspires hope that Soroka could eventually become a steady presence in the rotation for the Braves. Even though Max Fried’s return is seemingly on the horizon, Atlanta would still be extremely grateful for another consistent starter to step up and Soroka is getting the opportunity to be that guy for the Braves.
Michael Soroka will facing a Cleveland squad that has to be feeling high on confidence following last night’s dramatic victory. The Guardians were able to figure out Kolby Allard to the tune of three runs and also rode their luck on the way to putting two runs on the board at the expense of Kirby Yates. This eventually culminated with David Fry being the man to hit the game-winning RBI in extra innings in order to give Cleveland the victory. It’s also been encouraging for the Guardians to see them scoring as much as they have recently, as that was the third time in four game that they’d scored six runs or more in a contest. Cleveland’s offensive output has been inconsistent this season (an 89 team wRC+, a team wOBA below .300 and the league’s worst Isolated Power number (.124) will do that to you) so they’ll likely be over the moon if that continues into tonight’s game.
Tonight’s game could also be an example of the excellent mentality that this current edition of the Braves has when it comes to the day-to-day tests of Major League Baseball. This team is extremely good at leaving yesterday in the rear-view mirror and focusing on one day at a time. They don’t get too high and they never find themselves too low, either. This means that they’ve probably already put the dramatic loss from last night’s game in the back of their mind and are likely chomping at the bit for another go at it today. That’s the beauty of baseball and the Braves have done a fantastic job of embracing that element of the game. Hopefully this leads to Atlanta getting started on another winning streak after their most recent one got snapped.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, July 5, 7:10 p.m. ET
Location: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan