Not only are Braves rabidly awaiting for Michael Soroka to make his first start in the majors since 2020, but the team, all of a sudden, desperately needs him to step up when he’s deemed ready. With the Braves off on Thursday, all eyes were on the Maple Maddux, who could potentially be an option to fill in for Max Fried or Kyle Wright, both of which are expected to miss multiple months with injuries.
The highly anticipated outing began about as poorly as possible for Soroka. He walked the first batter he faced after quickly getting ahead in the count. Then a weakly hit single put runners on the corners. Two batters later, the Stripers were down 3-1, as Soroka gave up a monster opposite field shot over the right field wall. He was also already over 20 pitches.
In reality, Soroka was probably a couple of more bad pitches away from not making it out of the first inning, but he was able to grind it out and eventually settled down nicely. Soroka retired nine batters in a row before surrendering a two-out single in the fourth. He then got the next batter to ground out to end the inning and appeared to be on cruise control. However, despite the success, Soroka was still removed after just four innings and 73 pitches.
The first inning was discouraging. Soroka’s control, which has been an issue all season, was all over the place. He also gave up a couple of hard-hit balls that resulted in extra bases. But the way he bounced back was admirable, and there’s no question that he still has outstanding stuff.
It will be interesting to see how the Braves continue to approach things with Soroka. They only allowed him to throw 73 pitches, clearly managing his workload. They aren’t going to rush him to the majors. It doesn’t matter how many injuries the rotation suffers, but I still think he’s the best internal option the Braves have, which is why adding some veteran depth has to be a top priority in the coming days.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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