After losing the first two games of this series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves now have to win a game in order to at least salvage something from what’s been a very rough period of their extended homestand.
If the Braves are going to get something out of this series, then they’re going to have to hope that Bryce Elder’s magic carpet ride lasts for at least another start. Elder’s currently sporting a 47 ERA- (2.06 ERA) and a 78 FIP- (3.34 FIP) and has been a bit of a rock in Atlanta’s rotation so far this season. He’s managed to get the job done in effective fashion, and he’s only given up more than two runs in just two of his nine starts so far this season.
This is despite the fact that visiting his Baseball Savant page still sends a chill down the spine. However, he’s starting to see both his walk rate and chase rate creep into the red territory, so maybe Statcast is starting to slowly come around on Bryce Elder’s dark magic. With that being said, I wouldn’t blame some fans for watching tonight’s start through the gaps of their fingers while their hands cover their face as they hope that Elder can continue to find a way to befuddle and confuse big league hitters with his stuff.
Meanwhile, the Braves will actually get to take on a familiar face on the mound for once — Tony Gonsolin is getting the start and he’ll be looking to continue what’s been an intriguing run of form for himself on the mound so far. He’s actually only given up three earned runs through five starts this season, though he did have a game where he gave up three unearned runs back on May 8 against the Brewers. Other than that, runs have been very tough to come back for opposing teams when Gonsolin has been on the mound.
Even if Gonsolin hasn’t had a spectacular start yet, he’s still simply getting the job done for the Dodgers. He’s only made it through six innings once this season (in the aforementioned May 8 start), the most strikeouts he’s had in any given outing has been six and he’s walked three batters in two of his five starts this season — including three walks against the Cardinals in his most recent outing on May 19. A lot of this could be chalked up to the BABIP Gods smiling down upon him, as his .172 BABIP is the joint-lowest in baseball among starting pitchers with at least 20 innings under their belt this season. That’s in comparison to his career BABIP average of .218, so I’d say that he may be living a tiny bit of a charmed life here in 2023. I can’t really complain because I will be rooting for Bryce Elder tonight, so it might just even out.
It seems like we’re going to have a matchup of two pitchers who are punching way above their weight. Will Bryce Elder continue to succeed despite Statcast believing that he’s bad? Will Tony Gonsolin continue his run of short bursts of run prevention? I would say that “Something’s gotta give,” but I guess it wouldn’t really be too shocking if this was a tight game heading into the sixth and seventh innings of this contest. Either way, I’m sure the Braves won’t care of it’s a tightrope walk or a blowout victory — they just need to pick up a win so they can avoid getting swept at home once again this season.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, May 24, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South, MLB Network (out-of-market only)
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan