The Atlanta Braves return to Truist Park Tuesday to begin their final homestand of the regular season. The Braves took three of four from the Nationals over the weekend and became the first team to reach 100 wins. Their magic number to clinch home field advantage for the postseason is down to three with six games remaining.
Bryce Elder will get the start for the Braves in Tuesday’s series opener. Elder struggled in his last start and failed to make it out of the fourth inning. He allowed four runs and issued a season-high five walks in the game. With Charlie Morton slated to miss the Division Series with a finger injury, Atlanta needs Elder to round back into form. He faced the Cubs back on August 5 in Chicago and struggled allowing seven runs (five earned) in just 4 1/3 innings.
The Cubs will go with lefty Justin Steele, who like Elder, is looking to bounce back after a tough start. Steele has put together a banner season posting a 3.00 ERA and a 2.99 FIP over 29 starts. He is among the group of pitchers competing for the Cy Young Award in the National League. However, his candidacy has taken a hit over the last week as he has allowed 15 hits and 12 runs over his last nine innings. Steele allowed eight hits and six runs in three innings in his last start at home against the Pirates.
Brian Snitker elected to rest some of his position players in Sunday’s doubleheader. Ronald Acuña Jr. saw a rare start as the DH in the first game Sunday and then sat out the second game. Acuña needs just two more stolen bases to become the first player in major league history with 40 homers and 70 stolen bases. He needs four more steals to tie Otis Nixon’s modern day record of 72 stolen bases set back in 1991.
Orlando Arcia went 7-for-12 in the series against the Nationals snapping a 2-for-30 stretch at the plate. Arcia has put together a banner season, but has seen his production dip in the second half where he is hitting .248/.308/.442 with a 99 wRC+ since the All-Star break.
Tuesday’s game will also mark the return of Dansby Swanson to Atlanta for the first time since signing with the Cubs during the offseason. Swanson leads Chicago with 4.9 fWAR and is hitting .250/.330/.427 with 22 home runs and a 106 wRC+ in 142 games this season. He was 2-for-10 with a home run in the series against the Braves at Wrigley Field back in August.
First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports South.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, September 26, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South, TBS
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan