Exclusive possession of first place in the National League East will be on the line Sunday afternoon when the Atlanta Braves look to avoid a San Francisco Giants sweep in their three-game streak.
The Braves (76-70), who led the East by 4 1/2 games just five days ago, saw their advantage shrink to one game when they were beaten 2-0 by the Giants on Saturday night. after the Philadelphia Phillies, second. (76-72) beat the New York Mets 5-3.
A fifth straight loss for the Braves in the afternoon coupled with a fifth straight victory for the Phillies on the night against the Mets on Sunday would leave the teams virtually tied, separated by just a few percentage points, at the top of the East.
âWe’re still in a good position,â said veteran Atlanta pitcher Charlie Morton. âThis (type of crisis) is going to happen. We’re going to play some really good baseball. Now we just have to right the ship.
The Giants (97-52), meanwhile, lowered their magic number to take the NL West to 12 with Saturday’s win, long after the Los Angeles Dodgers (95-54) won at Cincinnati.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler credited his defense afterwards.
âWe want to play a neat and clean game every day. It’s as clean as it gets, âhe said. âThe defense won the game for us. This is how the different components of our team depend on each other. The pitch was as good as it was because of the defense. It creates confidence and then two runs are enough for us.
The Giants will shoot for a third straight win with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (12-6, 3.24 ERA) on the mound.
The 31-year-old went 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts in September after lasting just three innings, allowing three runs, in a 9-0 loss to Atlanta on August 29. Jorge Soler and Austin Riley hit DeSclafani. in this game.
The veteran has gone 1-3 with a 4.85 ERA in six career starts against the Braves.
DeSclafani will work without much of a safety net again as the Giants were forced to turn Saturday’s win into a paddock game as starter Alex Wood, recovering from COVID illness, was only able to play three innings . He struck out four strikes and failed to allow a hit.
He was followed at the mound by six relievers, all of whom worked an inning, including Dominic Leone, whose last six outings have seen him serve as the Giants’ first pitcher three times and their last twice. He made his second stoppage of the season.
Even with Wood’s return, the club are without injured starter Johnny Cueto (right elbow strain) and nearest injured Jake McGee (right oblique strain), forcing Kapler to scramble at the start and end of games.
The Braves have planned southpaw Max Fried (11-7, 3.47) for the crucial start.
The 27-year-old has gone undefeated in his last eight starts, although the most recent four have gone without a decision. The latter started in a 6-5 home win over the Giants last month in which he allowed four runs (three wins) in six innings and gave Buster Posey a two-run homerun.
Fried is career 2-0 against the Giants with a 2.79 ERA in four games, including three starts.
-Media at field level