A pair of hot pitchers will be on the mound Sunday when the Atlanta Braves host the Philadelphia Phillies in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The Phillies posted a 12-2 victory on Friday before the Braves rallied for four runs in the 12th inning for a stunning 8-7 win on Saturday. Philadelphia is 5-3 against Atlanta this season.
Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola (3-1, 2.89 ERA) will be opposed by Atlanta right-hander Huascar Ynoa (3-1, 2.36).
Nola has faced the Braves once this season. The right-hander received a no-decision after allowing two runs on six hits and six strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings on April 1. He has made 21 career starts against Atlanta, going 11-6 with a 3.03 ERA.
In his most recent start, Nola gave up one run on five hits and struck out 10 in six innings of a 6-5 victory versus the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
“Nola gave us a gutsy performance (the last time),” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said.
Ynoa has been one of Atlanta’s most pleasant surprises. Given the role as the No. 5 starter while ace Mike Soroka is recovering from Achilles surgery, he has the lowest ERA in the rotation.
He will be making his first start of the season against the Phillies. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief versus Philadelphia on April 3.
In his most recent start on Tuesday, Ynoa threw seven innings and allowed one unearned run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He also hit a grand slam, his second homer of the season.
“He just is throwing the ball really well,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We keep saying that he has come a long way and continued to improve. He’s got no fear and he’s got weapons.”
Philadelphia’s Jean Segura has been a welcome addition to the lineup. He was 3-for-4 on Saturday and has seven hits in two games since his return from the injured list with a right quad strain.
“When we have a healthy lineup, you’ll see that more often,” Girardi said. “It’s good to get Jean back.”
Andrew McCutchen also had three hits on Saturday and five in the series. He’s batting .333 (14-for-42) over his past 11 games.
Atlanta might be without slugging right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna had to leave the game in the seventh inning Saturday after being hit on the left hand by a 98 mph inside pitch thrown by reliever Sam Coonrod. Acuna had been backed off the plate on the previous pitch and was hit for the third time this season. An X-ray was negative and the injury was called a left pinkie contusion. He is day-to-day.
“We’ll see how he is when he comes in,” Snitker said. “… We dodged a bullet. Any time you get hit in the hand … all those little bones in there.”
The Braves made two roster moves on Saturday, recalling right-handed pitchers Jasseel De La Cruz and Victor Arano from Triple-A Gwinnett. They optioned utility infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. to Gwinnett and designated right-hander Carl Edwards Jr. for assignment.
–Field Level Media