Braves' Keuchel wants to rebound vs. Mets, Matz




Atlanta left-hander Dallas Keuchel will try to bounce back from his worst start of the season when he makes his first career appearance against the visiting New York Mets.

Keuchel (3-5, 4.83 ERA) will be opposed by left-hander Steven Matz (7-7, 4.49 ERA) in the second game of the three-game series. The Braves won the opener 5-3 on Tuesday.

Keuchel spent his entire career with the Houston Astros before signing with the Braves as a free agent in June. He has appeared in 202 games, 193 of them starts, but has never had an opportunity to face the Mets.

The former Cy Young Award winner was roughed up in his last start on Aug. 8 against the Miami Marlins. He allowed eight runs on 10 hits -- three of them home runs -- one walk and four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. It was the most runs he had given up since Aug. 8, 2017, and it led to his third straight loss.

"I don't think it ever gets easier giving up a bunch of runs, but one thing I can look back on is tomorrow's a new day," Keuchel said after the loss. "It's just one of those days you're happy the game's over with. They hit the ball good, they scored a bunch of runs."

After owning a 4.95 ERA in his first 16 starts, Matz has since sported a 2-1 record with a 3.20 ERA in four starts since July 21. The highlight was a complete-game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 27.

After getting bounced around by the Pirates on Aug. 2, when he allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings, Matz came back to beat the Marlins on Aug. 7. He tossed 6 2/3 innings and gave up two runs, striking out seven, in that game.

Matz has benefited from the suggestion that he be more deliberate on the mound.

"Really, throughout the game, I was just trying to be mindful of still working quick, but just taking a second every once in a while, and not throw a bad pitch just because I'm just rushing instead of taking my time, and really focusing on the next pitch," Matz said after the Marlins game.

"It was definitely a conscious effort and also beat the heat. The humidity actually played in my favor there because I couldn't rush. I had to take my time, going to the rosin bag and stuff. That helped as well."

Matz has more wins against Atlanta than any other club. He is 5-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 10 career starts. Matz will be making his fourth start against the Braves this season. He is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA. He has allowed three homers in 13 innings against Atlanta.

In his last appearance against the Braves on June 29, Matz was limited to two innings when the game was delayed by rain. He allowed two runs on three hits, one of them a homer, with three strikeouts. Matz received a no-decision in that game, but the Braves rallied late against the New York bullpen.

--Field Level Media

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