Braves: Darius Vines makes history in MLB debut

Vaughn Grissom call up

The Braves finished off their sweep of the Rockies last night behind their power bats and a gem from one of their top prospects making his MLB debut, Darius Vines.

Making your first start at Coors Field should almost be illegal, but Vines was extremely poised and looked like he belonged from start to finish. He set the first six batters he faced in order before running into a little bit of trouble in the third. A single off the bat of Ezequiel Tovar with two outs put the Rockies on the board, but Vines would avoid any further damage by striking out the next batter he faced and settling back in.

The Braves would take the lead back in the top of the fourth, scratching across two thanks to a couple of singles and some poor fielding by the Rockies. Darius Vines then delivered a critical shutdown inning to follow despite giving up one of the oddest ground rule doubles you’ll ever see that cleared about a 20-foot wall after hitting the warning track in right-center field.

Vines then essentially got out four batters in the fifth without any damage because of a fielding error by Orlando Arcia, and the Braves would break the game open in the sixth with four runs, courtesy of two homers from Marcell Ozuna and Orlando Arcia. The two homers also broke the Braves franchise record for home runs in a season, which was 249.

This is undoubtedly the best Braves lineup ever assembled, and it just might be the best offense ever put together. They have a real shot at breaking the Twins record for most homers ever in a single season, which came in 2019 when the balls were juiced to the high heavens. Outside of the juiced ball era, nobody compares to the 2023 Braves.

Back to Darius Vines, a double and single put the Rockies in business, but they were only able to get one across on a sacrifice fly. The rookie would get Michael Toglia to ground out to second to end the inning, capping off his spectacular debut.

That stat line may not look like something historic, but considering the ballpark, it was. Vines became the first visiting pitcher in MLB history to make his MLB debut at Coors Field and go six innings while allowing two or fewer runs, and he did so on 82 pitches.

The fifth spot in the Braves rotation has been a revolving door, but Vines deserves to ride this out as long as he can. Stats aside, he looked the part of a major-league pitcher. He threw strikes, and you could see why some scouts have his changeup rated as a 70-grade pitch. It’s absolutely filthy and was generating swings and misses the entire outing.

I would be pretty shocked if Darius Vines didn’t get a start next week. The rosters are expanding on Friday, allowing the Braves to carry an extra reliever, and while the Braves could skip the spot in the rotation because they have an off-day upcoming, it would be wise to give their primary four starters an extra day of rest as much as possible down the stretch with such a large lead in the division.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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