Braves News: Atlanta wins first series of year, Shuster makes debut, more
By Logan Dollar
The Atlanta Braves took two of three games from the Washington Nationals in their season opening series. The offense got off to an impressive start in the first two games before Mackenzie Gore and the Washington bullpen shut them down in game three. There were plenty of positives to take away, including Matt Olson continuing his tear through Spring Training and Spencer Strider being dominant in six shutout innings. They will look to get back on the winning side of things with a three game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals starting Monday. Charlie Morton will take the hill in game one.
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In other Braves news, Jared Shuster made his highly anticipated debut on Sunday. The Braves top prospect, according to MLB.com, had a shaky first inning to say the least. Despite four runs coming across in the first inning, aided by three walks, Shuster settled in and was nearly able to complete four additional scoreless innings. The rookie will get plenty of chances to improve on his first outing considering the Braves' depleted rotation early in the season. Fellow rookie Dylan Dodd will look to learn from Shuster's debut, as he is scheduled to make his own Tuesday in St. Louis.
The Braves have yet to announce a starter for Wednesday's matchup in St. Louis. What would normally be Max Fried's next start has now turned into a question mark since Brian Snitker confirmed Fried will go on the IL. Ian Anderson was a candidate to fill the spot, but his debut in Gwinnett left little to be desired as he didn't make it out of the first inning. Bryce Elder slides into the likely "next man up" role but nothing has been announced by Snitker or the big league club.
It looks like the Milwaukee Brewers may have dodged a serious injury with star closer Devin Williams. Williams was struck on the right elbow by a line drive hit by former Braves shortstop, Dansby Swanson. He did not pitch in Sunday's series finale though manager Craig Counsell noted to reporters after the game that Williams was available, if needed.
One of the more intriguing storylines entering the season is off to a fantastic start. The pitch clock made its presence known early and often. Through every MLB team's first two games, the average game time was 2 hours and 42 minutes. Offensive production is up so far and the games are nearly thirty minutes shorter than this time last year. It will be exciting to see if this trend holds steady as we progress throughout the season.