The Braves hoped to cap off a trio of fantastic performances by their young arms with Touki Toussaint on Monday, who they called up to make his fifth start of the season against the Orioles.
I’m not going to spend too much time talking about Toussaint’s outing. It started off promising but turned dreadful in the blink of an eye. After limiting the damage to just one run in the first inning, he pitched a clean second, but things got ugly quick in the third, beginning with a three-run homer off the bat of DJ Stewart. Baltimore went on to score six more runs in the inning, stretching their lead to TEN, and Toussaint became the latest Braves starter to fail to make it past the third frame.
Toussaint has the stuff to be successful at the highest level, but there’s no reason for him to make another start in Atlanta this season after yesterday’s performance. It’s apparent that he’s not quite ready, and we are only two weeks away from the postseason. Let him spend some more time in AAA next year, and see if he can contribute again in 2021. Toussaint is not one of the answers to the Braves’ nagging rotation issues, but he may not be needed.
Ian Anderson continued to dazzle on Saturday with his best performance of the season, tossing seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the defending champions. As Jake mentioned yesterday, he needs some recognition in the NL Rookie of the Year race, and it almost seems inevitable that he will be starting a postseason game for the Braves. Usually, that might be a reason to worry, but Brian Snitker should have no problem handing him the ball in any situation based on what we’ve seen from him this season.
Anderson wasn’t the only youngster that dazzled over the weekend, however. Kyle Wright made his second start for the Braves since being recalled and outdueled Max Scherzer for the win on Sunday. It was far from perfect, but he was able to shake off some porous luck and produce the best outing of his major league career on his way to his first career victory. And to do it against Max Scherzer… that should give any young arm loads of confidence moving forward.
Wright may not be a starting option for the Braves come October, but I wouldn’t totally count him out if he produces a couple of more performances like the one on Sunday. At the very least, he could be a long-relief option out of the bullpen, which is still an extremely valuable role in the playoffs. However, the best news regarding the starting rotation focuses on the reinforcements on their way.
Tonight, Huascar Ynoa will make another start, but after him, Cole Hamels is penciled in to make his Atlanta debut on Wednesday. The Braves then have an off-day on Thursday, which is expected to be followed by Max Fried’s return from the IL against the Mets.
#Braves will start Huascar Ynoa in Tuesday's game against the O's. Then it's Hamels coming off IL on Wednesday, off day Thursday, and Fried coming off IL Friday at Citi Field.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) September 15, 2020
Health is the most important thing with these two guys. As long as Max Fried returns to 100%, and Cole Hamels can stretch himself out before the postseason, the Braves should be in pretty good shape come October.
Fried can pitch a Game 1, with Hamels or Anderson taking the mound in Game 2. Whoever doesn’t go in Game 2 can start Game 3, and the Braves can turn to their bullpen for a potential Game 4. It may not be the most conventional way to navigate through the postseason, but with how good Fried, Anderson, the offense, and the bullpen have been this season, Hamels may just be the cherry on top needed for a deep playoff run.