The Atlanta Braves continue their search for a fifth starter and they’re finally going to give Spencer Strider a shot to grab that spot.
Twice they’ve gone into a game not knowing who their next-day starter would be. And while many assumed Strider would get the chance, the game would dictate a need for Strider and they’d call-up someone else.
But the time has come — the Braves aren’t holding back anymore and Spencer Strider will make his first big league start on Monday in Arizona.
He’s been outstanding for the Braves in the bullpen this year with a 2.22 ERA in 24.1 innings allowing just 14 hits with 37 strikeouts.
The only real concern — and it’s been the same with all the young starters they’ve tried in the fifth spot — are the walks. He’s issued 11 of them in those 24.1 innings.
The strikeouts help to limit the damage from the walks, but can that hold up over 5 or 6 innings?
And can the velocity hold up over that long as well?
We’ve seen this year when he goes back out for a third or fourth inning the velocity will drop.
Will it still be enough to get hitters out a second and third time through the order when he primarily throws two pitches — fastball and slider?
That’s the real question and concern for Strider as a starter — how will his stuff hold up a second and third time through the order.
We know he can dominant the first time through.
There’s also the question of how long will he actually be able to go in a game.
The longest outing he’s had this year is 4 innings and that was back on May 6. He threw 69 pitches in that outing.
The most pitches he’s thrown in appearance this year is 71, but that was all the back on April 11.
He’s likely been getting stretched out in preparation for this, but it’s hard to imagine him being able to go more than 4 or 5 innings and throwing more than 75-80 pitches on Monday.
But the answers above need to be answered, and the Braves need an answer in the fifth spot. If Strider isn’t that answer then you can put him back in the bullpen where you know he’s a great weapon.
However, the Braves are hoping he can become much more than that and learn to be as dominant as a starter for 5 innings as he’s been as a reliever in short spurts.