Do the Braves have any choice but to put Spencer Strider in the rotation?

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Tucker Davidson took the mound for his second start of the season after looking promising his last time out against the Brewers. However, there were glimpses of some control issues in Milwaukee, and that turned out to be the story of his outing on Monday night against the Phillies.

In the first frame, Davidson was able to get out of a jam, but the Phillies broke through in the second for three runs, thanks to a couple of walks, and another walk came home to roost in the third before Brian Snitker finally pulled the plug. Davidson finished the night allowing five earned runs on four hits and four walks with a couple of strikeouts. It’s a start he’ll want to forget, but it’s not one the Braves can ignore. Davidson isn’t ready; he’s not even close, and they’ll need to find another option to start five days from now.

The problem is the Braves are running out of candidates. Muller and Davidson have shown they’re not ready for The Show. Elder flashed a little more promise, but his 5.50 ERA in Gwinnett suggests it’s not his time either. Touki Toussaint is also struggling for the Stripers this year. In my eyes, there’s really only one option — Spencer Strider — even if the Braves would ideally like to keep him in the bullpen while Tyler Matzek is on the IL.

The powerful right-hander has pitched in a number of different roles for Atlanta this season, and one thing remains consistent, his ability to make opponents look incredibly uncomfortable in the batter’s box. Whether he goes one inning or four, it’s overwhelmingly evident how much opponents hate facing him, and Strider seems to have recognized that, leading to him being nearly unhittable.

Because the Braves have recently utilized Strider in more high leverage situations for only one inning, it might take a few outings to stretch him back out, but I don’t think they have much of choice. It’s obvious he’s the best option, and sending any of the other Braves’ prospect arms out there right now is essentially forfeiting a game once every five nights. That’s not something Atlanta can afford while they sit 8.5 games behind the Mets for first place in the NL East.

Strider’s first couple of starts may be treated more like bullpen games. The Braves will probably let him go as far as he can until he gets stretched out, but I don’t see any other option but to put him out on the mound as the starter five days from now.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire




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