Young pitchers ready to open series between Braves, Guardians

Young pitchers ready to open series between Braves, Guardians


The Atlanta Braves will try to run their winning streak to nine games when they open a three-game series at the Cleveland Guardians on Monday night

Atlanta also has won 16 of its past 17 games and 23 of 26 to take a nine-game lead in the National League East.

“These guys don’t get caught up in what we’ve done or any of that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They’re just about today’s game.

Atlanta will put its winning streak in the hands of right-hander Bryce Elder (6-1, 2.44 ERA), who enters the series opener with the second-lowest ERA in the majors.

Elder is 2-0 in his past three starts with a 1.42 ERA.

In his most recent outing last Tuesday against the visiting Minnesota Twins, Elder allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, earning the win in a 6-2 victory.

On Sunday, the 24-year-old was named to the NL All-Star team, something few imagined after he went 6-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) with Atlanta’s Triple-A team, the Gwinnett Stripers, last season.

“I’m going to keep doing the same thing, regardless of whether you get a vote or however it works,” Elder said before learning he was selected to the All-Star team. “I don’t even know how it works, but I mean it’d be great if I did. I’m not acting like it wouldn’t look good, but I’ve got another five days, and it was a little bit sloppy (against the Twins), so I got some more work to do.”

The Braves have supported their pitchers by hitting at least one home run in each of the past 20 games

The Guardians blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning Sunday against the Chicago Cubs but pulled out an 8-6 win in the 10th to give them a 4-2 mark on their just-completed road trip

Cleveland will ask 23-year-old rookie right-hander Gavin Williams (0-0, 2.84 ERA) to quiet Atlanta’s hot bats in the series opener.

Williams, who is ranked as Cleveland’s top prospect and 12th overall in the majors, according to MLB Pipeline, will make his third major league start.

Williams most recently tossed seven shutout innings in a 2-1 win against the Kansas City Royals last Tuesday. He allowed just one hit with six strikeouts and a walk.

He departed with the game still scoreless, and the Guardians eventually scored two runs in the ninth to win

“We were working really well together,” Cleveland catcher Bo Naylor said. “All I had to do was click a button and let him do the work. He showed us what he’s made of right there.”

The only other pitcher in team history to toss at least seven innings while holding opponents to one or fewer hits within the first two games of his career was Addie Joss in his MLB debut on April 26, 1902.

“He’s got a big arm,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Williams. “That’s an upper-90s fastball with carry (and) two breaking balls. He pitched effectively at the top or just above the zone, and he threw a lot of strikes. When he didn’t want to throw a strike, he didn’t throw a strike.”

–Field Level Media


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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.