Braves name Wednesday’s starter

Hurston Waldrep Braves hat AJ Smith-Shawver

The Braves exploded for five home runs in the first two innings yesterday, beating the Twins 6-2 for their fourth straight win, with the opportunity to sweep this afternoon.

Earlier this week, AJ Smith-Shawver was optioned to Gwinnett. Brian Snitker told the media it was not performance based. The Braves just needed to add another relief arm in case of emergency because of how many relievers they used during a wild series with the Reds over the weekend at Great American Ballpark. It made sense, but it also meant somebody new was going to have to start in Smith-Shawver’s place, given he has to remain in Gwinnett for at least 10 days after being optioned.

Many speculated we might finally see Michael Soroka again. He’s been downright dominant for the Stripers since being optioned a few weeks ago, allowing just three runs over 19 innings. And his last time out, the Maple Maddux came just one out shy of a seven-inning no hitter. Soroka looks the best he has all season and is in line to receive the call again soon, but it won’t be today.

Following last night’s win, Brian Snitker informed us that it would be Kolby Allard making his season debut instead of Soroka.

The Braves say it is just a spot start for Allard, who just recently came off the IL because of an oblique injury. The team preferred a southpaw to face the Twins, given their struggles against left-handed pitching.

Essentially, today will be a bullpen game. Allard isn’t even fully stretched out, so he can likely only go 4-5 innings at most.

Soroka has struggled against left-handed batters over his career, so the Braves clearly want to find a better matchup to ease him into things. I still think he would have been a much better option. You can’t hide him forever. Eventually, he’s going to have to face lefties, but it is evident the Braves want to make sure Soroka isn’t getting used like a yo-yo between the majors and AAA after what happened last time. When he’s called up next time, the Braves want to do everything they can to make sure it is for good.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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