Newcomb gets rare start for streaking Braves vs. Phils
According to STATSAccording to STATS
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 6/14/2019 thru 6/16/2019
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Atlanta left-hander Sean Newcomb will make his first start since April 13 on Saturday when the Braves face the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in search of their ninth consecutive win.
The Braves scored three times in the ninth inning to stun the Phillies 9-8 in the series opener on Friday, defeating Philadelphia for the first time in four tries this year. Atlanta owns its first eight-game win streak since May 17-25, 2013.
The series between the National League East rivals continues at SunTrust Park, with Newcomb (1-0, 2.59 ERA) going up against Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.58).
Newcomb began the season in the rotation but had control issues that led to a demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett in mid-April. During his minor league assignment, Newcomb rediscovered the ability to throw strikes, and that trend has continued since he was recalled in early May.
The 26-year-old has since spent his time in the bullpen, where he has become a dependable option. In 16 games in relief, Newcomb has allowed three runs in 19 innings, a 1.42 ERA. He has walked only two batters in relief.
Newcomb is taking the spot in the rotation that has belonged to Kevin Gausman, who is on the injured list due to plantar fasciitis. Gausman was the likely candidate to lose his starting spot to free agent signee Dallas Keuchel, but the Braves decided Keuchel needed to make at least one additional minor league start before joining the rotation, giving Newcomb an opening.
"I'm looking to take the rhythm I've been in and just keep rolling," Newcomb said. "I'm not looking at it as a start or that I'm coming out of the 'pen. It's just another time out there."
Newcomb likely will be returned to the bullpen, regardless of the results from his start. He has pitched well in a relief role and has given manager Brian Snitker a reliable lefty who is capable to working more than one inning.
"He should have some confidence," Snitker said. "The stint in the bullpen has been very good for him."
Newcomb drew a tough opponent. Nola is 8-3 with a 2.05 ERA in 13 career starts against Atlanta. He has more wins against the Braves than any other club. Nola started the season opener against Atlanta and gave up only one run on two hits in six innings of a 10-4 win. He walked five and fanned eight.
Nola worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits in his latest start, Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. He not receive a decision when the bullpen lost the game. It was a nice bounce-back for Nola after he had given up six runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings during an 8-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on June 3.
The Phillies added a left-handed bat on Thursday when they acquired utility man Brad Miller from the New York Yankees. Miller hit 30 homers for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016 but has only 17 homers since.
"I told them I'm ready to roll at any position at any time," said Miller, who did not play Friday on his first day with Philadelphia. "I've done a lot of different things in the past five or six years. I feel like I can use that experience to prepare me to do anything. I just want to be on a winning club."
--Field Level Media
Updated June 15, 2019