3 takeaways from Braves' enthralling series win over the defending world champs

The Braves were close to another sweep of the defending world champs during one of the most exciting series of the season.
Texas Rangers v Atlanta Braves
Texas Rangers v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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It's time to see Bryce Elder in the rotation again

I know that it has already been announced that Elder will make the next start against the Marlins on Monday.

But it's taken too long after Strider was ruled out for the season to get Elder back in the rotation.

The second half of his 2023 was underwhelming and the last verifiable memory the Braves have of him is him giving up a moonshot to Bryce Harper in game three of the NLDS. But all of that doesn't erase the fact that he was an All-Star in 2023, deservedly so.

And it's not that Darius Vines hasn't done his job in the two starts he's made. A 4.66 ERA in 9.2 innings over games against two powerful offenses in the Astros and Rangers is impressive.

His stuff on Sunday night though, was less than impressive. He just didn't have his changeup and though he gave up four runs over five innings, it could have been much worse. A solo home run from Evan Carter and a go-ahead three-run shot from Andrew Knizner were both on non-competitive first-pitch changeups that sat up in the zone, a mistake that pitchers at any level can't afford to make.

And it wasn't like those were the only two mistakes he made either. He made more than he got lucky on and was fortunate to get out of there with the game he had.

His pitching style is very similar to Elder's but Vines does not have the sinker that made Elder so successful last season. Both rely on getting soft contact rather than striking guys out and Elder has proven over a whole half of a season that he can do it. Even with the bad second half last year, Elder saw a hard-hit rate of 41% last season.

The great Baseball Savant did not have the numbers yet from Vines' start last night, but in his first start alone, his hard-hit rate was 58%, meaning that he got very lucky against the Astros.

With the amount of batted balls, he is set to allow with his style, that number has to be much lower and it's a warning sign a blowup is coming sooner rather than later.

All eyes will be on Elder to see if he can lock up that fifth rotation spot with his opportunity to shine against the Marlins.

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