Friday kicks off a three-game series between the Chicago White Sox and the Atlanta Braves from SunTrust Park. The series doesn’t really mean anything for Chicago, as they are far out of the playoff race at 60-73. August has however been one of the White Sox better months, going 14-14 so far. With two games left in the month, Chicago has a chance to go over .500 in a month for the first time this season. For the Braves, every win still matters. They’re 5.5 games up on the Nationals, but they would love to add to that lead. August has been a great month for Atlanta, going 17-9 and winning 9 of their last 11 games.
For the White Sox, veteran Ivan Nova will get the ball for his 28th start this season. Nova is having a really solid season on a bad team, on the verge of winning double-digit games for the 5th time in his career. He’s actually been insane since July 22nd, winning 5 of his 7 starts, giving up a total of only 5 earned runs. His last time out he took a loss, even though he went 5 ⅔ innings and only gave up one earned. The entire month of August has been money for Nova, going 3-1 with a 1.09 earned run average. That includes one of the most impressive starts of his career, going the full 9 innings against the Houston Astros, and only giving up one unearned run. One of the most impressive things about this stretch is that he’s been this good with a K/9 of only 5.50.
The Braves haven’t officially announced a starter for the series opener yet. However, it’s expected that stud youngster Max Fried will get the ball for his 26th start this year. He’s had an incredible season so far, leading to a 14-4 record with a 4.03 earned run average. Fried is terrific at home as well, going 6-2 with a 3.67 earned run average. He has turned it up during the second half of the season, despite never pitching this many innings in a season before. His ERA is almost a full run lower in the second half.
Batters To Watch
The White Sox have been waiting for Yoan Moncada to break out ever since acquiring him in the Chris Sale trade a couple years ago. Quietly, he has finally done that in 2019. He has career highs in batting average, on base, slugging, home runs, and runs batted in. He’s also cut his strikeouts down by 6% since last season. He has slowed down mightily in August, however, batting only .217 this month.
The Braves have many great hitters, but none more exciting than Ronald Acuna. Earlier this month he became the second-youngest player ever to reach the 30/30 club. He’s batting .288 with 36 home runs and 91 runs batted in this year. He’s also been great in August, his highest home run hitting month of the season with 11.
As good as Nova has been this season, Fried is better. And the Braves are better. Take Atlanta.