Bryce Elder completed his fourth straight quality start for the Braves and did so in dominating fashion for Atlanta. The rookie hurler made history tonight, as he became the first Braves rookie since Paul Marak tp throw a complete game shutout. Elder’s pristine performance ended up being more than enough for Atlanta in this one, as the Braves cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Nationals.
This game was both very quiet and very speedy for the first three innings, as the batters had a tough time figuring out both Bryce Elder and Cory Abbott during that time span. Things changed drastically for the next three innings — at least as far the Braves were concerned. The Braves proceeded to break the game wide open over the next three frames. It all started with Matt Olson finally getting a hard-hit fly ball to stay fair. He’d been hooking them foul for what felt like the entire month of September. This time, he finally got one to stay fair and this dinger started the scoring for the Braves.
The next inning got off to a positive start as well, as Marcell Ozuna wasted no time against Cory Abbott. Ozuna crushed the second pitch he saw from Abbott in this AB and sent it soaring through the sky to make it 3-0 in favor of Atlanta at that point.
The sixth inning ended up being the one that saw the Braves crack the game wide open. It all started with Austin Riley coaxing a leadoff walk out of Abbott before Michael Harris II singled to chase Abbott from the game. Harris swiped his 20th base of the season to turn it into a scoring threat before Matt Olson had another productive at-bat. This time, Olson hit a sharp liner for a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 before William Contreras got hit by a pitch to continue the inning.
The Nationals nearly got out of the inning with the very next at-bat, as Eddie Rosario hit a grounder up the middle that should’ve been turned into an inning-ending double play. Instead, Joey Meneses finally made a mistake against the Braves — he dropped the throw from second base, which allowed Harris to score easily from third base. The error ended up being extremely costly for the Nationals — Marcell Ozuna cracked a double in the very next at-bat and then Orlando Arcia followed that up by hitting a moonshot to center field. When the smoke cleared, the Braves had suddenly found themselves up by eight runs and in very comfortable territory.
This ended up being more than enough run support for Bryce Elder, who delivered his strongest performance so far. While Cory Abbott faltered along the way, Elder just kept on rolling with barely any problems. He did find himself in a one-out bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning following Atlanta’s breakout at the plate, but Luke Voit continued to struggle against the Braves in 2022 by hitting a liner right at Austin Riley. Riley then tossed it to second base in order to double off CJ Abrams and end the scoring threat right then and there.
Elder was doing so well on the mound tonight that he had an opportunity to go for a complete game shutout once it was all said and done. While he may have been on 96 pitches going into the ninth inning, he certainly didn’t look like it once he started dealing in the final frame. Elder struck out Meneses and Voit to start things off before inducing a ground ball from César Hernández to end the ballgame and put the cap on an utterly fantastic outing.
Bryce Elder gave the Braves exactly what they needed in tonight’s game. He continued to shine and take care of business against a low-tier Nationals team and his excellent outing also gave the bullpen a break after they had an extremely long day on Sunday. When you combine Elder’s brilliance with the offense continuing to get their mojo back following a brief slump last week, that makes for a very satisfying victory for the Braves. They’re now just one game behind New York in the NL East standings and will be looking to keep pushing forward with another win in the middle game tomorrow night at 7:05 PM ET.