Last night, Tucker Davidson went out and showed why Brian Snitker had enough confidence to start him in Game 5 of the World Series. The southpaw tossed five scoreless innings of three-hit ball in a shutout victory over the Brewers, giving him his first career MLB win.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 18, 2022
Many people, including myself, have been clamoring for Spencer Strider to get an opportunity in the rotation. But with how Davidson pitched, that’ll have to be put on hold. He undoubtedly earned a shot to start again in five days, and I believe he has a legitimate chance to stick for the rest of the season.
Before injuries struck, Davidson was looking like a potential rotation piece in 2021, recording an ERA+ of 126 in four starts. The talent is apparent, but like most young arms, it’s all about control. We saw some of those control issues last night, but every time he found trouble, he was able to hunker down and make the necessary pitches to work his way out of it. I feel confident in saying that if he walks three batters every five innings, he’s going to give up a lot of runs at the major-league level, but if he can trim those down, I see no reason why he can’t permanently grab hold of the fifth starter’s spot.
Strider or Davidson?
In the long run, I like Strider as a starter more than Davidson. The hard-throwing right-hander has shown that he has the stamina to start, and his stuff is among the best in the league. Both hurlers project as solid major leaguers, but with Tyler Matzek going down with injury, Strider is a necessary piece to the bullpen. I expect him to be used in a lot of high-leverage situations moving forward. Once the Braves get Kirby Yates and Tyler Matzek back, I’d love to see Strider in the rotation, but a lot of it will depend how he and Davidson handle their new roles.
When it comes to pitching, the Braves have an embarrassment of riches. From their rotation to their bullpen, they are loaded with high-powered arms, and it’s crazy to think they could have several reinforcements on their way in the form of Mike Soroka, Kirby Yates, and Tyler Matzek.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire