Veterans Charlie Morton and Carlos Rodon will go head-to-head for the second time this season, and just the second time in their careers, when the Atlanta Braves and host San Francisco Giants wrap up a three-game series on Wednesday afternoon.
The teams split low-scoring affairs the past two days, with the Giants extending their winning streak to three in a 3-2 win on Monday before the Braves ended a three-game skid with a 5-1 triumph in the rematch.
Morton’s Braves (88-54) will begin the day a half-game behind the first-place New York Mets (89-54) in the National League East. Rodon’s Giants (68-74) are 10 games out of the final NL wild-card spot with just 20 games remaining.
When they last dueled in June, Morton (8-5, 4.08 ERA) and Rodon (12-8, 2.93) threw well, but neither got a decision as the Braves scored three times in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 4-3 home win.
Morton struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing two runs and three hits with no walks.
Meanwhile, Rodon, making his first career start against the Braves, fanned 10 while limiting them to one run on three hits and a walk in his seven innings.
Morton will be following up on an impressive outing by Kyle Wright in Atlanta’s Tuesday win. The major league leader in victories picked up his 18th with 5 1/3 innings of three-hit, one-run ball.
Morton has gone unbeaten in his past seven starts, running up a 3-0 record with a 3.40 ERA. The right-hander hasn’t taken a loss since July 27 at Philadelphia.
The 38-year-old has gone just 4-5 despite a fine 2.55 ERA in 15 career starts against the Giants.
The Braves have used Vaughn Grissom and Ehire Adrianza at second base in the series. Grissom is hitting .309, while Adrianza walked twice and scored a run Tuesday, allowing the Braves to be patient with regular starter Ozzie Albies, who could return from a fractured foot later this week.
Manager Brian Snitker said he has consulted his staff over who plays and who sits once Albies returns.
“Those things seem to work themselves out,” he said. “Having too many players is a good thing.”
Rodon won’t have to deal with Albies, who is currently on a minor league injury rehab stint. However, shortstop Dansby Swanson has been a handful for Giants starters in the series, driving in five runs with a single, a double and a home run.
Rodon has no wins to show for impressive efforts in his past two starts, during which he struck out a total of 21 in 11 1/3 innings while limiting the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs to two runs and eight hits.
The left-hander struck out Swanson in two of their three head-to-heads in the June game.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler pointed to Swanson’s two-run, third-inning homer off Jakob Junis as being the key blow in the Tuesday game.
“The Swanson pitch was the one he’d like to have back,” the skipper said. “It was the main difference in the game.”
The loss also featured a special moment for Giants right-hander Cole Waites, a Georgia native who was able to experience his major league debut against his home-state team. The 24-year-old right-hander pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing a hit and a walk.
–Field Level Media