The Braves lost a hard-fought battle on Tuesday, narrowly missing on multiple opportunities at the plate while the bullpen struggled mightily to find the strike zone. Today they turn to Mike Soroka as they look to even the series, and hopefully improve upon the embarrassing performance by their pitching staff a night ago.
In his first outing of the season, which came last Thursday against the Diamondbacks, Mike Soroka looked every bit the part of a top prospect as he fired five innings allowing just one run on four hits with six strikeouts. Of equal importance for a struggling Braves staff, Soroka walked just two and was largely effective with his command following a shaky first inning. While that small sample may seem somewhat insignificant, for a pitcher returning from shoulder issues that sidelined him a year ago, the return of sound command and consistent velocity is a notable development for Soroka.
Opposing Soroka for the Reds will right-hander Tanner Roark, a familiar face to Braves fans from his time with the Washington Nationals. In his career, Roark owns an 8-5 record with a 3.09 ERA in 23 games versus Atlanta, with 116 1⁄3 innings pitched. Interestingly, Roark served up one the most memorable moments of the 2019 season for the Braves, giving up a walk-off homer to Charlie Culberson in Atlanta last May. He will look to keep the Braves in the ballpark in a much less forgiving than SunTrust Park. In four starts this season, Roark has allowed only one homer thus far, which is impressive given the unfriendly confines of Great American Ballpark from a pitcher’s perspective.
Freddie Freeman owns the most career at-bats versus Roark of any player in baseball with 45, and has compiled a .311/.373/.422 slash line. Nick Markakis has 33 at-bats versus Roark with a .273/.415/.636 line and three homers, while Ender Inciarte has 30 at-bats for a .400/.419/.633 line with a homer. Ozzie Albies is 5-for-15 with a homer as well, so suffice all of this to say that the Braves lineup is not disappointed to see Roark pencilled in to start for the Reds.
The only Reds batter to face Mike Soroka is Derek Dietrich, who has three at-bats versus the Braves right-hander with a double and two strikeouts.
This should be an interesting game for the Braves as they have past success against Roark. A significant storyline for Atlanta will be the deployment of their bullpen following a game that saw the Reds draw seven walks against the relief corps. That has to improve, and tonight will be interesting as Snitker looks to find some semblance of reliability out of that group.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, April 24, 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network