Two of the top starting pitchers in baseball will be on display Wednesday when the Atlanta Braves host the New York Yankees in a doubleheader. The stars won’t be facing each other in the same game, though.
Bad weather led to a postponement of Tuesday’s scheduled game and prompted a doubleheader of seven-inning games on Wednesday.
The first game will feature New York’s Gerrit Cole (4-0, 2.75 ERA) vs. Atlanta’s Ian Anderson, who will make his major league debut. The second game matches New York’s Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 4.60) against Atlanta’s Max Fried (4-0, 1.32).
Cole brings a 20-game winning streak into the game, tied for the third-longest stretch in major league history. Since May 27, 2019, Cole is 20-0 with a 1.97 ERA. He has a 28-start unbeaten streak, tied for the second-longest run in history.
The big right-hander has made four quality starts in six outings and has allowed one or fewer walks in five of those. He has 44 strikeouts. In his last appearance on Aug. 19, Cole received no decision after allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay.
Cole is 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in six career starts against the Braves, all while he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tanaka will make his fifth start of the season, and it comes on seven days of rest. Tanaka has been a picture of consistency since joining the club seven seasons ago, recording double-digit wins in his first six seasons.
In his most recent appearance on Aug. 18, Tanaka took a loss against Tampa Bay after he was roughed up for six runs, five earned, in four innings.
“We lost a couple of games (vs. the Mets because of COVID-19) so that gave me a little more time, so I was able to work on what I wanted to work on,” Tanaka said. “It comes down to the mechanics. I had to make some tweaks and was able to do that.”
Tanaka has made two career starts against the Braves, going 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA, striking out 10 in 11 innings but yielding two home runs. He faced Atlanta in New York on Aug. 12 and received no decision when he allowed two runs in four innings.
Anderson, the team’s first-round draft choice in 2016, is Atlanta’s top-ranked pitching prospect. He has been pitching at the Braves’ alternate training site and struck out 11 in a six-inning intrasquad game on Aug. 5.
Anderson split last season between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and combined to go 8-7 with a 3.38 ERA. The young right-hander had 172 strikeouts in 135 2/3 innings, the fourth most K’s in the minor leagues.
“He’s excited,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a kid who’s confident in his abilities. He’s been throwing really well at the alternate site. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long major league career for this man.”
Fried, a left-hander now considered the ace of the staff, has not allowed more than two runs in any of his six starts. In his latest appearance on Aug. 21, he gave up one run in five innings in a win against Philadelphia. Fried has never faced the Yankees.
Both teams will also get position players back from the injured list. New York slugger Aaron Judge returns after a right calf strain. Atlanta gets outfielders Ronald Acuna Jr. (sore wrist) and Nick Markakis back. Markakis had been sidelined after being exposed to COVID-19. He tested negative.
–Field Level Media