Braves bid to sweep Phillies in final home game (Sep 24, 2017)

ATLANTA — Two highly regarded rookies will close out the first season at SunTrust Park on Sunday.

Philadelphia will send right-hander Nick Pivetta (6-10, 6.57 ERA) to the mound against Atlanta left-hander Luiz Gohara (1-2, 6.00) in the finale of a three-game series. It will be Atlanta’s final home game this year at SunTrust, where they have posted a 37-43 mark.

Atlanta has won the first two games of the series. The Braves have won four straight contests against the Phillies after winning only two of their first 14 meetings. Atlanta’s last three-game sweep over Philadelphia came in September 2016.

Pivetta will make his 25th start of the season. The rookie was promoted in late April has been a steady contributor since joining the rotation. Pivetta was acquired by the team in a 2015 trade with Washington that sent reliever Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals.

Pivetta won his last start on Sept. 18, posting a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pivetta allowed two runs on four hits and struck out eight in six innings against the Dodgers.

Pivetta is trying to ensure his place in the Philadelphia rotation for 2018. He struggled mightily during five August starts when he was 1-3 with an 11.57 ERA. He’s been better in four September starts, going 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA.

“He needs to understand how to continue to carry that through five, six, seven or even eight innings,” Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. “That’s when you get to be a real solid starter. He’s a young pitcher. It’s his first year in the big leagues. He’s going to get it. He’s going to be good.”

Consistency is the problem with Pivetta, who average 9.52 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s had double-digit strikeouts twice, including a career-high 11 against the Padres on Aug. 16.

Pivetta has made two starts against Atlanta this season. He’s 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA and beat the Braves on July 31 when he allowed one run in six innings.

Gohara has less major league experience as he will be making his fourth start and is trying to put himself in consideration for inclusion in the 2018 starting rotation. Gohara was acquired from Seattle, which was growing impatient with the beefy 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect.

Gohara, 21, has breezed through the club’s minor league system. He began in Single-A and was pitching with Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up on Sept 4. He was 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 26 minor league appearances with three clubs in 2017.

Since being thrust into the starting rotation, Gohara has faced some good hitters. He made his debut against the Rangers and has two starts against Washington. His best game came on Sept. 13 when he outpitched Washington’s Max Scherzer and allowed one run in six innings.

“He battles,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s a strike thrower. He gets the ball over the plate. I thought he was a little sharper the other day in Washington, but he’s still pretty good.”

It could be the final home game for Snitker, who is nearing the end of a one-year contract to manage the team. Snitker, who has spent 40 years with the Braves organization, said he would like to return.

The Braves finish the season with four games in New York and four in Miami. Philadelphia returns home for three-game series against Washington and the New York Mets.