Tuesday night was bad all-around for the Braves. It started with Ronald Acuña being scratched from the lineup with a wrist injury as a precaution. We hope that’s all it is, but he will be seeing a doctor today to determine the significance of the issue. After the game, Brian Snitker commented on the injury, saying it was bad enough that he was not available at all in last night’s game, even as a pinch hitter.
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That alone tells me this could be a much more serious ordeal than expected, and the Braves can’t afford to lose Acuña for a substantial period during this shortened season, especially considering the state of their rotation, which looks even worse after last night.
Following Sean Newcomb’s implosion on Monday, Touki Toussaint took the mound hoping to build off of the best outing of his major league career last time out. Unfortunately, he was tasked to do so against a loaded Yankees lineup, and they were able to jump on him early.
In the first inning, Toussaint got himself into a little trouble. It began with a single by D.J. LeMahieu. Then, after forcing Aaron Judge to line out, Toussaint committed a throwing error to first base, allowing Aaron Hicks aboard with one out for Luke Voit, who started the fireworks with a three-run blast. It was a no-doubter that landed over 400 feet into the empty left-field bleachers, and it was off the kind of pitch Toussaint knew was a mistake once it left his hand — a hanging meatball over the center of the plate. The type of offering this Yankees lineup doesn’t miss often.
The encouraging aspect of Toussaint’s start was how he rebounded after Voit’s home run. He was able to retire the next five batters in a row, but danger arose again once he got back to the top of the order.
Toussaint started the third with a couple of miscues, hitting LeMahieu with a pitch and walking Aaron Judge. Hicks then reached on an infield hit, loading the bases for Luke Voit, who was fresh off a homer in his first at-bat. This time, however, he lined out, but an errant throw by Austin Riley resulted in another run. Toussaint was nearly out of the inning without any more damage, but with two outs and two strikes, Mike Ford doubled over Marcell Ozuna’s head to bring in two more Yankees, stretching the lead to six.
Once again, Toussaint was able to bounce back with four straight outs after that, but it wasn’t the kind of outing he was hoping for after looking so good last week. Still, this is a loaded Yankees lineup, and he was able to give the Braves a bit of length, which is more than you can say about every pitcher in the rotation not named Max Fried right now.
In relief, Brian Snitker turned to their fifth-ranked prospect who they called up yesterday, Bryse Wilson. He picked up right where he left off in a Braves uniform, surrendering a towering blast to the first batter he faced this season, who just so happened to be Aaron Judge. His MLB-leading ninth home run went 432 feet the other way, and Wilson was visibly shook afterward.
Following Judge’s blast, Wilson loaded the bases without giving up a hit, hitting Aaron Hicks and walking Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres. Luckily, he was able to force Mike Ford into a double-play and Gio Urshela to line out to center, limiting the added damage to just one run, but it was a discouraging first frame of the season for Wilson, who continued to lack confidence in his secondary offerings.
Wilson also began the sixth inning but couldn’t finish it. He started strong, striking out the first two batters, but after back-to-back walks, Brian Snitker had seen enough, ending Wilson’s night after just 1.2 innings and 52 pitches.
It’s a small sample size, and as I said earlier with Toussaint, the Yankees are a challenging matchup for every pitcher — not just the young ones with limited experience. But while both Toussaint’s and Wilson’s lines look similar, the eye test tells a different story. Toussaint stood up to adversity while Wilson wilted. The Braves are still looking for answers in their rotation, but I have a difficult time believing Wilson is ready to handle the pressure at this level right now.
Today, the Braves take on the Yankees again in their 20th game in 20 days. It’s their last game before their first scheduled off day of the season. In Mike Soroka’s place, Huascar Ynoa will once again start what will be a bullpen game. Brian Snitker said he will stick with Ynoa as long as he can go before turning to Atlanta’s talented relief core the rest of the way. Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound for the Yankees, and the first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM at Yankee Stadium.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire