The Atlanta Braves had expected to have Cole Hamels available for 162 games when they signed him to a one-year $18 million contract. Now the club is happy the veteran left-hander will finally be available, even if it is Game 50 of a 60-game season.
Hamels will make his season debut on Wednesday when the visiting Braves play the finale of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Left-hander Keegan Akin (0-1, 4.61 ERA) will opposed the 36-year-old Hamels.
Baltimore (21-27) has won the last three series against the Braves (29-20).
"These are some of those older guys we were counting on to carry some of that starting load," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker told reporters. "Now we're finally getting them back."
In addition to Hamels, the Braves expect to get No. 1 starter Max Fried back on Friday. The left-hander missed a start with back spasms and was placed on the injured list as a precautionary measure.
Hamels missed spring training with left shoulder inflammation and most of summer camp with left triceps tendinitis. He has not pitched in a game since Sept. 28, 2019. The Braves will limit Hamels to three or four innings, between 55-60 pitches, in his first appearance.
"I know this is kind of my spring training," Hamels said. "But I know what it takes to focus, to be able to get outs, to minimize damage, put up zeroes and try to pitch as long as I can under a pitch count."
The Atlanta rotation needs all the help it can get. The Braves have had a starter go three innings or less in 13 games. The team has had back-to-back six-inning starts only three times this season. The result has been a stressed-out bullpen.
Touki Toussaint was the latest to flame out; he lasted only 2 2/3 innings on Monday and was sent to the alternate training site on Tuesday morning. Huascar Ynoa, who started Tuesday, had his best outing of the season with four scoreless innings, but left the game early with pain in his lower back.
Akin will be making the fourth start of his career. In his last outing on Sept. 11 at New York, he suffered the loss in his shortest outing (two-thirds of an inning), allowing four runs on three hits and one walk against the Yankees. He was lifted after throwing just 39 pitches.
"It wasn't good," Akin said. "Some things didn't go my way."
Akin has never faced Atlanta.
Two of the hottest hitters in the league are Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman and Baltimore shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Freeman was 3-for-5 on Tuesday with two doubles and padded his league-leading RBI total to 46. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games and his on-base streak to 31 games.
Iglesias was 2-for-4 on Tuesday and increased his batting average to .374. According to Elias Sports Bureau, on Monday when he went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, he became the first Baltimore starting shortstop to be perfect at the plate with at least four RBIs in a regular-season game since Chico Salmon on Aug. 16, 1969.
--Field Level Media
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Key Players to Watch
- Elbowout for season | 10-day IL
Phillips has been shifted to the 10-day injured list due to right elbow inflammation. He will miss the remainder of the season.
- KneeQues Sun | questionable
Nunez missed the last due to a sore knee, and it is unclear if he will play Sunday versus the Blue Jays.
- WristProb Thurs | probable
Iglesias has been held out of the past three games with a left wrist contusion, but it is expected that he will return to the fold Thursday versus the Red Sox.
- Kneeout for season | 10-day IL
Davis has ended up on the 10-day injured list with left knee patellar tendinitis. He will miss the remainder of the 2020 season.
- HipOut indefinitely | 10-day IL
Armstrong has landed on the 10-day injured list with left SI joint inflammation, and there is currently no timetable for return.
- QuadricepDoub Fri | doubtful
Iglesias is dealing with a sore left quad and sore right shin, and is unlikely to be in Friday's lineup versus the Rays.
- ShinProb Thurs | probable
Iglesias departed the last game due to a left shin injury, but it is expected that he will play Thursday against the Rays.
- GroinQues Wed | questionable
Martin is nursing groin discomfort, leaving his availability for Game 1 of the NL wild-card round versus the Reds hazy.
- Shoulderout for season | 45-day IL
Hamels has wound up on the 45-day injured list due to left shoulder fatigue, ending his season.
- QuadricepProb Wed | probable
Riley is sidelined with a right quad injury, but he is likely to be ready for Game 1 of the NL wild-card round versus the Reds.
- WristProb Wed | probable
Acuna Jr. is experiencing irritation in his left wrist, but he is projected to suit up against the Reds in Game 1 of the NC wild-card round.
- AnkleProb Wed | probable
Fried is dealing with a left ankle injury, but he is expected to return to the mound against the Reds in Game 1 of the National League wild-card round.
- QuadricepQues Fri | questionable
Riley was held out of the previous game with minor quad tightness, and it is uncertain if he will face the Red Sox on Friday.
- RestQues Fri | questionable
Freeman is likely to be absent from the starting lineup against the Red Sox on Friday due to a day of rest.
- BackProb Mon | probable
Ynoa is experiencing tightness in his lower back, but he is likely to make his next scheduled start Monday against the Marlins.
baltimore-orioles Stats 2020
atlanta-braves Stats 2020