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With mind on ailing mom, Gohara shines in relief

Left-hander will start Wednesday, then go to Brazil to be with family
May 18, 2018

ATLANTA -- As Luiz Gohara stood at his locker following the Braves' 2-0 loss to the Marlins on Friday night at SunTrust Park, he anxiously looked forward to his first start of the season and remained concerned about his mother, who underwent heart surgery this week in Brazil.Gohara had been

ATLANTA -- As Luiz Gohara stood at his locker following the Braves' 2-0 loss to the Marlins on Friday night at SunTrust Park, he anxiously looked forward to his first start of the season and remained concerned about his mother, who underwent heart surgery this week in Brazil.
Gohara had been planning to travel to his native country on Saturday to be with his family. But when he was told after Friday night's game that he will start on Wednesday in Philadelphia, he opted to delay his trip for a few days.
"I want to be with my family, but I want to help my team," Gohara said. "I'm ready, and I'm excited for my first start in 2018."
After getting the start in place of the injured Mike Soroka, Gohara plans to remain with his mother for approximately a week. He will likely still be in Brazil when Soroka is ready to return from the disabled list and reclaim his rotation spot.

Gohara has been somewhat distracted dating back to this offseason, when his mother developed a heart ailment around the same time his father died in his arms. He came to camp touted as one of the game's top young pitchers and then spent nearly all of Spring Training injured. The Minor League rehab appearances he made were uninspiring.
But since returning to the Majors on May 8, Gohara has kept his mother in his thoughts and provided a glimpse of why MLB Pipeline ranks him the No. 45 overall prospect. He pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings against the Marlins and has surrendered just two hits and one run over seven frames since joining Atlanta's bullpen.
"It's getting better and better," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I think we just keep running him out there. I can see him keep ticking up right there, which is a really good sign."
The Braves received a strong spot start from Matt Wisler, who kept the game scoreless until the Marlins tallied three hits, including J.T. Realmuto's RBI triple, with one out in the sixth inning. Wisler's effort was trumped by Marlins starter Dan Straily, who surrendered three hits over seven innings that were highlighted by his fourth-inning escape.

After Starlin Castro scored Realmuto with a flare double to right field, Wisler gave way to Gohara, who got Justin Bour to pop out and Brian Anderson to fly out to left field. The big left-hander began a perfect seventh by striking out Derek Dietrich, who swung over two sliders after working a 3-1 count.
"[Gohara] is doing a good job," Braves right fielder Nick Markakis said. "He's getting his offspeed pitches over, which is making his fastball better. He's throwing strikes. He's not walking anybody. He's doing what we want him to do, and hopefully he can keep that going."
Gohara totaled just 21 pitches (12 strikes) in this latest outing before Snitker opted to use Peter Moylan to begin the eighth inning. The Braves' manager said he didn't feel he needed to push the 21-year-old southpaw any further to physically prepare him for a start.

"Extending to get him ready would have been three or four more innings," Snitker said. "But I think just one more inning in that game, if we decided to do something, I don't think it would have made that much difference because he's thrown 86 pitches, and so he physically can do it."
Markakis highlighted his sixth three-hit game of the season with a double that gave the Braves a pair of runners in scoring position with none out in the fourth. After Tyler Flowers popped out, Straily intentionally walked Ender Inciarte to get to the once-intimidating Jose Bautista, who struck out on four pitches. Bautista is 2-for-19 with 10 strikeouts against right-handed pitchers this year, and he has hit .136 (30-for-221) against them since last year's All-Star break. Johan Camargo flied out to end the threat.
"That was our time right there," Snitker said. "We had the deck stacked in our favor right there and just couldn't get a big hit."

Wisler used his slider on 43 of his 85 pitches. The 50.6 percent usage rate ranks as the fifth highest posted this year by any pitcher who has thrown at least 50 pitches in a game. The Braves' right-hander had never previously gone through a start using his slider more than 47.6 percent of the time.
"With a lineup with seven righties, yeah, I kind of know that I am going to throw a lot of sliders to these guys," Wisler said. "Usually, it's with the lefties where I bring out some of the other pitches, but with righties, I am predominately fastballs, sliders. So, I knew coming into the game that I was probably going to throw a lot."

"It was kind of a crazy trial day today, but the biggest thing for me was giving the team a chance to win today." -- Wisler, who traveled from Toledo to Detroit early Friday morning and then sat through a 90-minute delay before his flight departed for Atlanta

Sean Newcomb will carry his Major League-best 20 consecutive scoreless innings streak into Saturday's contest. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Newcomb has allowed two hits or fewer without allowing a run in each of his past three starts. He limited Miami to one hit over six innings last Sunday. The lefty will once again match up against Jose Urena, who has a 5.40 ERA against the Braves. Dansby Swanson, who went 2-for-4 in his rehab appearance with Class A Rome on Thursday night, is expected to return to the lineup after being placed on the DL with a sore left wrist on May 4.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001.