The Braves appear ready for Opening Day, as the offense had no struggles and their number 2 starter dominated early against the lowly Pirates.
Austin Riley started the scoring in the bottom of the first, with an opposite field solo bomb with two outs.
AUSTIN RILEY HAS LEFT THE BUILDING pic.twitter.com/sSkcm3YOso— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) March 26, 2023
Eddie Rosario hit a homer of his own in the next inning as he returned from back tightness the day before.
Effortless.— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) March 26, 2023
Eddie Rosario with the solo dinger over the right field wall pic.twitter.com/vBlbcSve0G
All of the regulars outside of Ronald Acuna and Travis d’Arnaud reached base today, as the Pirates pitching was not fooling anyone or even throwing strikes with much consistency on the day. Many of the Braves’ bats were more than happy to be patient and take their free base as the Pirates continued to struggle with command.
On the pitching side, Spencer Strider didn’t have quite the gaudy strikeout numbers that he is capable of, but 4 Ks over 4.0 innings of scoreless ball is a strong final outing of Spring Training, as he will be scheduled to start the Braves’ second game. AJ Minter was first out of the bullpen and struck out one in a scoreless fifth inning.
The most interesting pitching outing for the Braves today was the 3.2 innings pitched by top prospect AJ Smith-Shawver, who showcased his bigtime upside, as well as his biggest flaw. Smith-Shawver came in starting in the fifth inning and displayed his electric stuff, getting a lot of whiffs on his fastball and offspeed pitches. He did struggle with control at times, however, and appeared to be fatigued during the ninth inning, as he issued three walks and allowed his only hit, a double to Miguel Andujar, in the inning and being taken out for the final out of the game. This can only be viewed as a very encouraging outing for Smith-Shawver, however, as we hope he can have a big season in the minors this year.
Overall, the Braves’ regulars seem healthy and ready for the season, so let’s just avoid any injuries in these last few days of Spring Training.