The Braves absolutely wallopped the Phillies last night at Truist Park behind an offensive onslaught and a gem from Spencer Strider. Atlanta’s offense produced 13 runs on 14 hits, including a fifth frame in which the club scored six two-out runs. The Braves went 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position, had four extra-base hits, and had three players total three hits — Dansby Swanson, Eddie Rosario, and Marcell Ozuna. But the star of the win was Strider, who is making a strong case as rotation’s ace.
Strider struck out a career-high 13 batters coming off an NL Rookie of the Month award in what had to be one of the most impressive starts of his career. He allowed one run on three hits in 6.2 innings while issuing only one walk — marking the fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season.
Much has been made about Strider’s workload and that a move back to the bullpen could be in the cards. Well, that’s why Braves Country doesn’t make the decisions because that isn’t going to happen, and it’s laughable that someone would even suggest it. Strider pitched 63 innings in college and 94 in 2021 and is already at 87 innings right now, but Huckleberry isn’t concerned one bit.
“I’m very grateful for the concern over my energy level and arm; it seems to be expressed by everybody,” Strider said, sarcastically. “I’m in pretty good shape. I don’t know what the concern is. I’m a pitcher. Everyone seems concerned about my innings. If everyone is such an expert on innings increases, then I’m happy to take your advice. Let’s hear it.”
Alex Anthopoulos made an appearance in the booth during last night’s matchup, where he confirmed the plan is to keep Strider in the rotation. He’s exponentially more valuable as a starter than coming out of the bullpen, and Braves fans need to get that notion out of their heads. Max Fried will get the nod in any Game 1 scenario, but Strider is making a strong case as the team’s ace. There’s no doubt he’ll be on the bump for any Game 2’s in the postseason.
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