Atlanta Braves pitching matchups set up for Philadelphia series

Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies will face the Atlanta Braves this week. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies will face the Atlanta Braves this week. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Knowing that each win — or loss — in this week’s Philly series effectively counts double, the Atlanta Braves are going with their best.

If you’re looking at the Atlanta Braves today and thinking “Bullpen game?  Why??”, then you’re not alone, but the upshot is this:  there just aren’t a lot of viable other options available right now… plus there’s a more important reason coming up this week.

Let’s face it:  the starting pitching rotation has been relying on just 3 arms for much of the Summer.  Early successes from Huascar Ynoa and Touki Toussaint have fizzled to the point that even 1 trip through a lineup is risky.

Beyond that, Drew Smyly‘s “use by” date has likewise expired and thus he can’t even fulfill the role that he was hired for last off-season.

The Braves used Ynoa yesterday out of necessity, and while they lived to tell the tale, it happened thanks to the offense continuing to find a way to score despite… well, just about everything else including their own failures to execute at times.

But it’s now at the point that Toussaint can’t be trusted with another start, and thus he’s been optioned back to Gwinnett right after returning from the bereavement list.  That tells you all you need to know.

But going with a bullpen game today against the Padres certainly has its risks, particularly when facing Joe Musgrove.  But the Braves need to do it, and here’s why:

Again:  each win that happens against the Phillies counts ‘double’ since it forces a loss on them… and vice versa.

Likewise, as Mark Bowman also notes, Philadelphia is going to go with their best:  Zack Wheeler on Tuesday and Aaron Nola on Wednesday.  Other media sources indicate that they will go with Kyle Gibson for the Thursday finale of the series.

So it will be a playoff atmosphere at Truist Park this week for this all-important trio of games against the Phillies.  Their best against our best with the NL East title in the balance.

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All games begin at 7:20 EDT.  Game 1 will be on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).  Game 2 ESPN+ and the Bally Sports networks.  Game 3 on Bally alone.