“I get nauseous looking at that lineup,” Francona said Tuesday after the Guardians beat the Braves, who have the best record in baseball, 6-5 in 10 innings. “Their lineup is so deep; every inning is a grind. If you make a mistake with these guys, they can hurt you in a hurry.
Fortunately for Francona, he’ll need to look at the lineup only one more time this year when he exchanges lineup cards with Atlanta manager Brian Snitker in the rubber-game finale of this three-game series in Cleveland.
The Braves beat the Guardians 4-2 in the series opener on Monday and on Tuesday fielded a lineup that had six hitters with more than 40 RBIs. The three other batters with less than 40 RBIs have all missed significant playing time due to injury
Francona’s scrappy Guardians are a game under .500 and contending for the American League Central lead despite a lineup that is last in the league with just 56 home runs
The Braves, meanwhile, have hit 58 home runs in their last 22 games alone
Atlanta has 163 homers and is on a pace that could threaten the 2019 Minnesota Twins’ MLB record of 307 home runs in a season. Meanwhile, Braves pitchers have allowed just 91 homers
The Braves are sending all four starting infielders — first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Ozzie Albies, shortstop Orlando Arcia and third baseman Austin Riley — to the All-Star Game on July 11 in Seattle
“That makes me feel like a proud papa,” said Atlanta third base coach Ron Washington, who also coaches the Braves‘ infielders. “That means they’re doing the right things at the right times. This group is a very special one. I’m only the map – I guide them in the direction we want them to go in.
The fireworks could continue on Wednesday as both teams send to the mound pitchers with inflated ERAs.
Right-hander Mike Soroka (1-1, 6.89 ERA), who missed the last two seasons due to Achilles tendon injuries, will make the start for the Braves. He has made just three starts this season in his latest comeback, and he has given up five homers in 15 2/3 innings
Soroka fared better in his last start, striking out seven in six innings in a 16-4 victory over the Miami Marlins, in which he was credited with the victory. Soroka has never faced Cleveland in the four years he has pitched in the majors.
He’ll be opposed by Cleveland right-hander Cal Quantrill (2-5, 6.18), who has worked 62 2/3 innings and has done a better job keeping the ball in the park, having allowed seven homers. Quantrill has fared well in his only two starts against Atlanta, having given up just two earned runs over 11 2/3 innings for a 1.54 ERA.
Quantrill went on the injured list on June 2 with right shoulder inflammation. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs on June 30, giving up eight hits and six runs.
– Field Level Media
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