Braves line up their rotation ahead of series against the Mets

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When the Braves lost for the second consecutive night on Friday and followed it up by placing Spencer Strider on the 15-day IL, it was the first time all season I felt like it was time to waive the white flag when it comes to the race for the NL East. But as they have all season, they won back-to-back games over the weekend and cut the Mets division lead to just 1.5 games with nine games left to play. The Braves certainly aren’t the favorite, but they should have an opportunity to take over the division on their home field this upcoming weekend, which is about all you can ask for at this point.

Looking ahead, the Braves wanted to get their best horses in line to take on the Mets, so they’ve pushed Max Fried back to start on Friday. In a corresponding effort, Bryce Elder will start tonight against the Nationals, and it looks like they’ll call Kyle Muller up for a spot start tomorrow. Wrapping up the series in Washington will be Jake Odorizzi.

Those aren’t exactly the most inspiring options, but the Braves don’t have much of a choice with Spencer Strider expected to miss the remainder of the regular season. Hopefully, the young guys plus Odorizzi can deliver some of their best efforts, and the bats can carry the Braves through their series versus Washington, which would set up an epic conclusion at Truist Park that will decide the NL East.

In that series, it will be best against best. Of course, Spencer Strider is not available, but the Braves will send out their three most qualified healthy pitchers — Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Kyle Wright — to face arguably the best trio of starting pitchers in baseball — Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, and Chris Bassitt.

The task at hand doesn’t favor the Braves, but if they have the opportunity to take the division lead at home with three of their best pitchers on the mound, there’s still a decent chance they can pull this thing off.


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