After a tough loss where they blew a 4-0 first inning lead, the Atlanta Braves will try to bounce back Tuesday when they continue a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Spencer Strider will get the start for the Braves while the Dodgers will go with their top pitching prospect Bobby Miller, who will be making his major league debut.
Atlanta needs a good start from Strider who gutted his way through five innings while allowing four hits, three walks and four runs against the Rangers. He still managed seven strikeouts, which was a season-low. Strider leads the majors in strikeouts and will carry a 41.5% strikeout rate in Wednesday’s start. He struggled with his command in Texas and allowed two home runs which equaled the total from his first eight starts combined.
Strider’s average velocity on his fastball is 97 mph, which is down slightly from the 98.2 mph that he averaged last year. Despite the dip, opponents have still struggled with the pitch with a .297 wOBA. He has actually gotten more swings and misses with the fastball this season and the development of his change up has been a welcomed addition to his arsenal.
The Dodgers will turn to Miller to help fill in for the loss of Julio Urias, who is on the injured list with a strained hamstring. Miller didn’t pitch at all during the spring due to a sore shoulder and has made just four starts at Triple A where he allowed nine earned runs and had 12 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. He is coming off of his best outing of the season where allowed two hits, one run and struck out six over six innings.
In that start, Miller averaged 99.5 mph on his fastball and topped out at 101 mph. MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis notes that Miller also throws a two-seamer and that all of his secondary pitches are “weapons.” Whether or not he is ready for the majors is up for debate, but out of necessity, he will get the start Wednesday.
Ronald Acuña Jr. extended his hitting streak to 12-straight games with a first inning double Monday night. He’s hitting .354/.426/.729 with three doubles and five homers during the stretch. Acuña has scored 16 runs over that span and leads the majors with 46.
While Acuña has been going good, the Braves need a couple of key contributors to get back on track. Michael Harris went hitless in four plate appearances Monday and is 0-for-22 over his last six games, dropping his season line to .163/.242/.225 with a 34 wRC+. Harris spent three weeks on the injured list with a back strain and that no doubt has affected his rhythm, but he is just 9-for-70 with 14 strikeouts since his return and has just one multi-hit game all season.
Austin Riley is hitting .259/.315/.370 in May with an 86 wRC+. While he has shown signs of coming around with a current five-game hitting streak, he has just five extra-base hits in 89 plate appearances this month.
Tuesday’s game is scheduled to get underway at 7:20 p.m. ET and can be seen on Bally Sports South.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, May 23, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan