A pair of 10-win pitchers will square off on Sunday afternoon when the Atlanta Braves host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of a three-game series.
The Braves have posted wins in each of the first two game of the series, including a 6-2 victory on Saturday. This will be the final regular-season meeting between the clubs.
Atlanta will send All-Star left-hander Max Fried (10-3, 2.73 ERA) against Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (10-5, 3.04).
Kelly is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last five starts. He won his third consecutive start on Monday against San Francisco. He retired the first 15 batters and went on to throw eight scoreless innings with three hits and seven strikeouts.
“That’s one of the better (outings) I’ve had all season,” Kelly said. “Fastball command was good, kept the changeup down for the most part, landed the curveball. Carson (Kelly, catcher) did a great job calling pitches. We had a lot of stuff working.”
Kelly has made two career starts against the Braves, going 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA. He did not face the Braves when they visited Phoenix earlier this year and has yet to pitch at Truist Park.
Fried has won 10 of his last 11 decisions but failed to add to the total in his last outing against Philadelphia on Monday. He pitched six innings and allowed three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts. It was his second straight outing without permitting a walk.
In 20 starts, Fried has recorded 15 quality starts. The team is 14-6 in games he has started.
Fried is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two career starts against Arizona.
It is unknown whether Braves closer Kenley Jansen will be available on Sunday. Jansen struggled to get his 24th save on Friday and sat out Saturday’s game because of “a catch in his back,” manager Brian Snitker said.
In his absence the Braves have used A.J. Minter, who has five saves. But the left-hander has allowed five runs over his last two appearances. And veteran Will Smith continues to work through a stretch that has seen him allow a run in four of his last six games.
The bright spot has been Collin McHugh, who has not allowed a hit or a run over his last five games. Since compiling a 6.10 ERA in his first 10 games, McHugh is 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA and a .178 batting average against over the last 25 games.
“He’s got a nice demeanor about him,” Snitker said. “Keeps the game slowed down. It’s nice to watch.”
The Diamondbacks made a move ahead of the trade deadline, sending veteran outfielder David Peralta to Tampa Bay in exchange for catching prospect Christian Cerda.
“It’s a lot of emotions,” Peralta said. “On one part, I’m sad because I’m leaving the organization, I’m leaving my teammates, they’re all for me like little brothers. On the other side, I’m excited to start a new challenge and new journey with a new team, too.”
–Field Level Media