The Atlanta Braves throttled the New York Yankees on Monday evening as they took game one by an 11-3 final. Bryce Elder will head to the mound in game two hoping to inch closer to that success he found before the All-Star break.
He will have the opportunity to do so against a Yankees team that is scuffling at the moment. They have been underperforming expectations all season really. New York is currently one game over .500 at 60-59 and finds themselves in last place in the AL East, 14 games behind the first-place Orioles.
Yes, you read that accurately.
Atlanta will hope Bryce Elder performs well in the second game of the series and inch the team closer to the 80-win mark. Elder was pitching out of his mind in the first half and was bound for some regression in the second half.
Unfortunately, that regression hit him really hard and he's yet to replicate that success. Before the break, Elder carried a 2.97 ERA through 106 innings pitched with 34 walks and 80 strikeouts. However, his 4.12 FIP tells us that he was pitching at a rate that was unsustainable.
So far, after the break, Elder has a 6.48 ERA through 25 innings of work. That includes 8 walks and 17 strikeouts. His most recent start against the Pirates ended after 5 innings, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts.
He's completed just 9.1 innings through 2 starts in August so far and owns a 9.64 ERA. Opponents have gotten 13 hits off of him and have been walked 5 times versus 8 strikeouts. Elder's command has not been the best and he's not been able to put hitters away in 2-strike counts. Despite the Yankees struggles, Elder will need to be more sharp if he hopes to make it far into the game.
The high-powered Atlanta Braves offense will have to contend with Yankees pitcher, Luis Severino. Severino is 2.7 and has an 8.06 ERA this season through 63.2 innings. Severino has not gone more than 4 innings in his last three outings with the most recent lasting just two innings against the White Sox.
He allowed 4 runs on 5 hits with 1 walk and 2 strikeouts so he's not having the best time. He also has a dreadful ERA in the first inning and, unfortunately for him, the Braves are the best in baseball in the first inning.
Severino has a 13.85 ERA in the first inning and opponents are hitting .436/.507/.790 against him with a 240 OPS+ through 13 games. The Atlanta Braves offense has a .333 average in the first inning with a 1.002 OPS. They have 163 hits including 33 home runs and 113 RBI in the first. Severino may be running into the wrong team if he wishes to improve his ERA during that inning.
I expect the Braves offense to continue rolling tonight but they will have to do so without Ozzie Albies. Albies was placed on the 10-day IL, backdated to August 14th, with a hamstring strain so Nicky Lopez could get an opportunity to continue his hot start with the Braves but Brian Snitker did indicate that Vaughn Grissom would be called up to give the team an additional infielder.
So, Atlanta's depth once again proves to be their strength as losing Albies doesn't automatically hurt them. Ozzie has been amazing this year so it will stink not having him in there but Lopez and Grissom are more than capable to take the reins for a while.