Braves News: A.J. Smith-Shawver to start Sunday's Series Finale

We've spent the weekend guessing who would take the mound in Sunday's finale against the Brewers. Now, we know.
Jun 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher AJ Smith-Shawver (62) in the
Jun 15, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher AJ Smith-Shawver (62) in the / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When Matt Olson applied the tag on Joey Weimer to end Saturday's game against the Brewers, fans still didn't know who would be starting for the Braves in just fifteen hours. Now we know, as Brian Snitker announced that 20-year-old rookie, AJ Smith-Shawver, will get the start in the finale against Milwaukee.

Smith-Shawver made three starts for the Braves earlier this year, with his last start coming in the wild game in Cincinnati when the Reds beat the Braves 11-10 on June 23. He only went 3.1 innings and allowed five runs, including three homers. The righty was sent down three days later for bullpen help.

Smith-Shawver had more success in his first two starts. After an impressive debut in relief, where he only allowed one base runner and struck out three in 2.1 innings, Smith-Shawver was put in the rotation.

He had a sold first start against the Washington Nationals, going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs, but only struck out two batters. The following start against the Colorado Rockies, he went 5.2 innings, and allowed three runs, striking out six. The rookie's biggest flaw in his start against the Rockies was the two homers he allowed.

Since being sent to Gwinnett, the righty has had much less success than in his first stint in the minors. He has only gone five innings once in three starts. In his first start back with the Stripers, Smith-Shawver only went 3.1 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned), walking four batters, and striking out three. The following start, he went four innings, only allowing two runs, but walking five.

He had far more success in his most recent start on July 23, going five innings, allowing no runs, and only allowing four base runners.

Smith-Shawver will look to lead the Braves to a sweep of the first-place Brewers in his fourth career MLB start. With Max Fried, who likely just completed his final rehab start earlier this evening, coming off the IL, this will most likely be a spot start for the young rookie.