Niese allowed four runs in six innings against the Marlins in his last start - he allowed all four runs in one inning, and took his sixth loss of the season. Over his last seven starts, Niese is 2-3 with a 4.31 ERA, a span of 48 innings. Niese's only start against the Braves this year came on April 8 when he allowed three earned runs in six innings to earn his first victory of the season - he's 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA in six career starts against the Braves.
Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41 ERA) will start for the Braves tonight.
Sheets has been brilliant since being activated by the Braves on July 15, having allowed five earned runs in his first 32 innings of the season. He allowed a run on seven hits against the Phillies in his last start. Sheets pitched six scoreless innings against the Mets on July 15 - he's 5-2 with a 4.09 ERA in nine career starts against New York.
Outside of one inning in his last start, Niese pitched well. The problem is, his one bad inning was beyond awful. The problem is, it wasn't the first time this season he has allowed a crooked number in a single inning - he has had 10 separate innings this season when he’s allowed three or more runs. He has yet to figure out how to limit the damage in these cases, and most of the time it due to poor pitch selection and poor execution of those pitches. In his last start against the Braves, he did a tremendous job pounding the cutter inside on the right-handers and he was dominant for most of his outing. The Braves offense has gotten it together since then, and so I wonder if Niese will switch things up and go to his curveball away from those hitters tonight.