Braves: Bryce Elder provides even more hope for the rotation with stellar major-league debut

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The Braves thrashed the Nationals on Tuesday night, featuring a stellar major-league debut from 22-year-old Bryce Elder and a much-needed onslaught from the offense.

Elder Adds to Pitching Depth

The national media seems to have created a storyline that the Braves rotation is a point of weakness. There is some truth to that; they don’t have many proven starters, but they do have tons of promising young arms in the works. All they need is for one or two of them to emerge to form an elite rotation. 

The youthful Elder showed that he may be one of those arms. The University of Texas product went 5.2 innings, surrendering six hits and three runs. That stat line won’t blow anyone away, but Elder was really better than that for most of the night. After giving up a run in the first inning, he shut down the Nationals until the sixth, when he finally ran out of gas, leading to back-to-back home runs by Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Up until then, though, he was very Mike Soroka-ish in his approach — working both sides of the plate and mixing up his pitches well. 

Ozuna is Back

Marcell Ozuna crushed two baseballs into the stands and also hit a double. It was a refreshing glimpse of his dominant 2020 season, where he led the NL in home runs and RBIs. If he can continue to look like this, I’m not sure how anyone will slow down the Braves lineup this season.

Offensive Onslaught 

The opening series against the Reds didn’t reveal the Braves true colors. Olson and Riley were really the only bats that showed up, but against the Nationals last night, the rest of the sticks came alive as well. Ozzie Albies, soon-to-be Oscar winner Travis d’Arnaud, Adam Duvall, and Dansby Swanson combined for 11 hits. That will lead to a lot of wins, especially when Acuña returns to the lineup in a few weeks. 

The Braves look to carry this momentum over to Wednesday, where they finish their homestand against the Nationals. Then they’re off to the West Coast, where the team’s mettle will be tested against the Padres and Dodgers.




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