The Atlanta Braves are hopeful that slugging right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. will be back in the lineup on Tuesday when they host the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a two-game series.
Acuna left Sunday’s game against Miami in the fifth inning with right pectoral tightness. He seemed to suffer the injury after taking a big swing during his second at-bat.
“He could have kept going — he wanted to keep going,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “I just want to err on the side of caution. I don’t see this lingering. It wasn’t something we wanted to mess with.”
Acuna has reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. His next home run will be the 100th of his career. Acuna is batting .282 with 18 homers, 39 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
The Braves snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday by beating the Marlins 6-4. Atlanta was 2-4 on the road trip, with three of the losses by one run and two of them on walkoffs. The Red Sox beat Toronto 2-1 on Monday to complete a 4-4 homestand.
A pair of left-handers will oppose each other in the series opener — Atlanta’s Tucker Davidson (0-0, 1.53 ERA) vs. Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 6.03)
Davidson will be making his fourth start and third since joining the rotation on a full-time basis. In the last two games, Davidson has combined to pitch 11 2/3 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and six walks. He worked six shutout innings against the Phillies in his last start on Wednesday but did not receive a decision.
“His stuff was live, he was throwing strikes,” Snitker said. “His slider has become a real pitch for him. He was very aggressive and threw a lot of strikes. It was a very impressive outing.”
Davidson made his big-league debut in 2020 against Boston and took a loss after being tagged for seven runs (two earned) in 1 2/3 innings.
Rodriguez, who won his first four starts of the season, is seeking his first win since May 7 when he beat Baltimore. He received a no decision in his last two outings, but has an 8.10 ERA in June. In his most recent start on Thursday against Houston, Rodriguez allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings.
“Missing my spots, that’s what I think has been changing the last couple of starts,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just something I need to work on. Finally, I’ve got my velocity back. I just need to work on hitting my spots. That’s what’s happening now.”
Rodriguez did not face the Braves earlier this season. His only start against Atlanta came in 2018 when he beat the Braves after allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
The Red Sox finally got a solid effort from a starter on Monday when Nathan Eovaldi threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings. In their previous six games, the Boston starters were 0-4 with a 12.00 ERA (32 runs in 24 innings).
“It’s been a horrible week for us, pitching-wise,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “For us to keep going and stay where we are, we have to pitch.”
The Braves and Red Sox split a two-game series in Boston in May.
–Field Level Media