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It’s Spencer Strider Day as Braves open series with Pirates

The Atlanta Braves didn’t have the best of times in Chicago. Hopefully that’ll change as they start a new series in Pittsburgh.

Atlanta Braves v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Following a sloppy-but-entertaining series loss to the Cubs, the Atlanta Braves are keeping their extended road trip going as they travel to the beautiful PNC Park in Pittsburgh to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a four-game series.

With Bryce Elder and Charlie Morton falling short of expectations over the past two games, the Braves are likely thrilled that Spencer Strider’s turn in the order is today. Strider is currently on an eight-start run where he’s gone at least six innings and struck out at least nine batters in each of those outings. Over these past eight starts dating back to June 20, Strider is currently sitting on a 2.82 ERA (63 ERA-), a 2.26 FIP (53 FIP-), a strikeout percentage of 39.5 percent and a walk percentage of just under four percent. The only real blemish for Strider during this run has been the fact that he’s given up just over one home run per nine innings, so he has been a little prone to giving up the home run ball.

Other than that, Spencer Strider has quite easily been Atlanta’s best pitcher during this stretch and in fact, he’s also been the best pitcher in baseball over that stretch. Strider’s 2.0 fWAR since June 20 is the best among all pitchers in baseball and is a half point of fWAR clear of three other pitchers (Blake Snell, Zach Eflin and Aaron Civale) who are tied for second at 1.5 since that date. It’s to the point where Spencer Strider is a bonafide Cy Young candidate at this point in the season and if he can keep this up or even hit another gear, he’ll be firmly entrenched in the conversation by the time the season is over.

While Osvaldo Bido may not be a Cy Young candidate, he’s still filling the role that the Pirates have needed him to fill since being called up in mid-June. Bido has basically been a mix between an actual starter and an opener for the Pirates, with the gist being that he’s probably not going to last long in any given appearance that he makes. He’s made nine appearances since getting called up in June and of those nine appearances, two were out of the bullpen and another two actually saw him get into the sixth inning. Other than that, he’s basically been used in short bursts and that will probably be the case for tonight’s game as well.

One thing that Bido really has going for him is that he’s done a solid job of avoiding hard contact. He’s in the 94th percentile of all pitchers when it comes to Barrel percentage, his average exit velocity is in the 71st percentile and his opposing Expected Slugging percentage is in the 65th percentile. The stats have bared it out to the point where he’s sitting on a 0.55 HR/9 number through 33 innings and he’s only given up two homers since being called up. He doesn’t have much else going for him but he’s very tough to really hit hard, so there’s that.

To be quite honest, the Braves should be looking at this series as a bounce-back opportunity. While the Pirates have been sneaky-good as of late, the Braves should be handling this type of team. Tonight is a prime example of that, as the pitching matchup appears to be very tilted in their favor.

Basically, if the Braves can avoid any scenario where they have to face David Bednar coming out of the bullpen then they should be in good shape. If he comes into the game, then good news for the Pirates would likely be happening shortly after that. He did blow a save against the Brewers over the weekend but those have been few and far in between for Pittsburgh’s star closer. Hopefully the Braves don’t have to see him tonight as they open up the series at PNC Park.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, August 7, 7:05 p.m. ET

Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tv: Bally Sports South


Listen: 680 AM/93.7 The Fan

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