Preview: Game 2, Touki Toussaint vs Michael Wacha

Photo courtesy of Baseball America

The back end of the Braves starting rotation is officially a mystery in terms of consistency moving forward. Hamels still isn’t back healthy. Folty isn’t on the 40-Man. And Felix Hernandez opted out of 2020. Touki is the most recent attempt at filling that void.

Touki’s been up & down with the Braves. This year he’s sitting on a 20.25 ERA. His only 2020 appearance came against the Rays, where he pitched 2.2 innings & gave up 6 earned runs. He has 5 pitches: 4-seam, curveball, slider, split finger, & sinker (only threw it 1.5% of the time in 2019). He’s pretty erratic with the curveball up to this point in his career despite using it only 1.4% less than his four seamer (31.3%). He uses his fastball to get ahead of batters, if his fastball isn’t on, it usually indicates a rough outing. To succeed tonight he’ll need to locate his heater and use his curve & slider to trigger swings at pitches that escape the zone.

Michael Wacha has the tall task of keeping Atlanta’s hitters at bay. He has a 1-0 record on the year with a 1.80 ERA through 5 innings. In 2019, he ranked in the 77th percentile or better in Exit Velocity, Hard Hit percentage, xwOBA, xERA, & xBA. Translation: when he’s hit, it’s weak contact; even though he had a losing record (6-7). Batters had a measly 7.8% Barrel Percentage against him in 2019. He has 4 pitches: Four Seam Fastball (27.3% usage), Changeup (35.1% usage), Cutter (35.1% usage), & Curveball (2.6% usage). He fills up the zone with every pitch, minus the curve. The keys to hitting Wacha will be to not bite on the changeup & to sit on the cutter.

NOW THE LINEUPS

Braves

1. Acuña Jr RF

2. Albies 2B

3. Freeman DH

4. Ozuna LF

5. Adams 1B

6. Swanson SS

7. Camargo 3B

8. Inciarte CF

9. Flowers C

Mets

1. Nimmo CF

2. McNeil 3B

3. Alonso 1B

4. Conforto RF

5. Canó 2B

6. Céspedes DH

7. Smith LF

8. Ramos C

9. Rosario SS

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