Braves: Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka set up to pitch this weekend versus Lehigh Valley

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A couple of familiar faces will take the mound this weekend for the Stripers as they try to secure a series split against the Iron Pigs in Allentown.

Ian Anderson will get the start Friday night and try to build on a terrific previous start where he threw 5.1 scoreless frames while striking out seven. He did walk four batters, though, which is the main area of concern as far as his future in the Braves rotation.

Anderson really upped the usage of the curveball in his last few outings with Atlanta, which was a welcome addition to his pitch mix. I’d really like to see a ~20% rate from that offering through his next few outings, allowing the organization to evaluate if it’s something that is going to be in his arsenal long term. If he can gain some confidence on the rubber and attack batters, there is no doubt that we will see him with the big league club when rosters expand in September. Anderson has had a ton of postseason success in the past couple of years and will be a welcome addition to the team in the heat of a pennant race if he gets back on track.

Mike Soroka is an exciting name right now in Braves country and for good reason. After three Achilles tendon surgeries over the past two seasons, he’s about as close as you can get to re-joining the boys in Cobb County. The now 25-year-old is set to make his second AAA appearance on Saturday night in Pennsylvania and is looking for a bit of a bounce back. His first rehab start in Rome was an absolute gem. Mike spun four scoreless innings and recorded 8 K’s on just 45 pitches. However, the first AAA outing was not quite as crisp, as he surrendered two earned runs on six hits in just over three innings without recording a strikeout.

Saturday’s start will be very telling regarding Soroka’s comfort level and give us a better gauge of where he stands both mentally and physically. I still think that it’s very possible that we could see Soroka in an Atlanta Braves jersey this fall. It could be as an opener or potentially coming out of the bullpen, but anything we get out of him this year should be seen as a bonus. I expect him to be fully integrated into the starting rotation next spring, and hopefully, we can see the same level of performance that we were once accustomed to. Only time will tell, and his start this weekend will be a great place to tune in and catch a glimpse.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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