After looking unstoppable through their first seven games, the Braves came back to earth over the weekend, losing three straight to the Padres, which was capped off by a 10-2 throttling last night with Dylan Dodd on the mound, who was making the second major-league start of his career.
In Dodd’s MLB debut, he performed just about as well as anyone could have asked against a strong lineup in the St. Louis Cardinals, tossing five innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts. It was enough to earn him his first career victory, but Sunday night gave us a better look at why he might not be quite ready either.
Dodd’s velocity was down by quite a bit compared to his start versus the Cardinals. That’s not something to fret about, but it is something to monitor moving forward.
Dodd in debut at St. Louis averaged 92.2 mph w/ 4-seam, 94.9 max & 90.4 minimum. Tonight averaged 90.9 w/ max 93.4. Got 28 swings and 2 whiffs on 51 FBs tonight, after 20 swings/4 whiffs on 34 FBs. vs Cards.
Threw 49% sliders, 47% FBs vs. Cards, but tonight 61%FBs/30% sliders
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) April 10, 2023
What is a little more concerning is his secondary offerings weren’t fooling anybody. His slider wasn’t nearly as sharp as it was against St. Louis, and he never seemed to have enough confidence in his changeup. The Padres had a game plan coming in, and they executed it to perfection, smacking Dodd around the ballpark for 4+ innings, racking up ten hits and seven runs.
The one thing I’ll give Dodd credit for is he never backed down. He continued to pound the strike zone no matter who was in the box, but sometimes that’s not always the best course of action against a lineup as talented as the Padres. I would like to see him at least one more time before the Braves pull the plug and send him back to AAA, but the fact Atlanta is even relying on him so heavily this early in the season is a testament to their rotation concerns.
Thankfully, Max Fried and Kyle Wright should be returning from the IL in a matter of weeks. Mike Soroka also looked pretty damn impressive in his first start of the season for Gwinnett. As he ramps up his workload, he will be a candidate for the rotation, so there’s reason for optimism regarding the group as a whole.
I’m not nearly as down on Dodd’s performances as I am Shuster, but Dodd only had 6.2 innings of work logged in AAA before making his major-league debut against the Cardinals. He could use some more seasoning in the minors before he’s thrust into the Braves rotation for good.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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