Rust shows in Kyle Wright’s return to the Braves

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The Braves opted to toss Kyle Wright into the fire yesterday night, starting him in the second game of their doubleheader against a loaded Phillies lineup on the road. Understandably, he struggled, but that’s not what was important about last night.

Yesterday was essentially a fourth rehab start for Kyle Wright. He’s still working on things as he revamps his workload, and it was overwhelmingly apparent when it comes to his control. He was spiking his breaking pitches early and often, leading to walks and falling behind in counts. Against one of the best offenses in baseball, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Wright would load the bases in the first inning with nobody out, leading to a four-run first, but his next two innings were much more encouraging. He allowed just one walk in the second and then set the Phillies down in order in the third. The Braves sent him back out in the fourth, hoping to squeeze one last inning out of Wright, but a leadoff single followed by a triple would end his night, as his final line read three innings, six earned runs, six hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.

It wasn’t pretty, and while the Braves offense managed to keep it competitive behind a couple of home runs off the bat of Matt Olson, they couldn’t quite make up the deficit, falling by a score of 7-5 to their division rival. However, it was another step in the right direction for Wright, who the Braves hope can contribute in the playoffs in some capacity.

For that to happen, Kyle Wright has to get some run against major-league competition, and he might not face a lineup better than the Phillies. If this were June or July, Wright probably would have spent at least a few more weeks on the farm stretching himself out, but it’s not. There are only a few more weeks until the end of the season, which forced the Braves hand a bit. It was a rehab start at the major-league level, so the stat line really should be thrown out the window. He’s shaking off the rust, and he’s giddy to be back with the major-league club.

This outing opens the door for Wright to potentially contribute as early as the NLDS. He will have three more opportunities to toe the rubber for the Braves before the end of the season, allowing him to work on his mechanics and build his pitch count. By that time, Alex Anthopoulos and company should have a good idea of how he might be able to fare in October, if at all. The Braves might be just fine without him, but a healthy Kyle Wright has the potential to be a dangerous weapon in the postseason as we saw last year.

Photo: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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