Since there is still no timetable for Mike Soroka to return to the mound in a live game, we can assume that he will likely begin the season on the injured list. I’ve expected this ever since he tore his Achilles back in August; there’s simply no reason for the Braves to rush him back, especially with so many other starting pitching options. With that in mind, the fifth and final spot in the rotation is up for grabs, and the competition is heating up between Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson.
Wilson had the upper hand after their first outings. He breezed through two scoreless frames just days after Wright struggled, allowing three runs in just over an inning of work. However, Wright has been lights out since; he threw three scoreless innings last week against the Twins and followed it up this afternoon with four more shutout frames, surrendering just two hits and two walks while striking out three. Wilson, meanwhile, gave up two earned runs in his last appearance and is scheduled to take the mound again in the coming days.
As of now, the competition for the final spot in the rotation is still up in the air, but given the fact that Wright is older, further along in his development, and has now put together back-to-back stellar starts, he certainly has the edge. With that being said, I don’t expect Wilson to just lay down and die, and there could be a situation where the Braves use a six-man rotation to begin the season. Although, there has been no indication of that to this point.
The bats were quiet again for the Braves, but thankfully, they didn’t need to do much to secure a win. Atlanta’s bullpen strung together five scoreless innings once Wright exited, led by Nate Jones, Tyler Matzek, Grant Dayton, and Luke Jackson.
Ronald Acuña broke the tie with a no-doubter in the sixth, and Michael Harris, who is turning heads everywhere in Spring Training, added to the lead with a home run of his own. The Atlanta native is now hitting .429 with a .500 OBP and .857 slugging percentage this spring, and many believe he will be in the majors much earlier than originally expected.