It's now Dylan Dodd's turn to make his case for the Atlanta Braves' fifth spot in the starting rotation. Dodd will have his work cut out for him, facing what looks to be the Boston Red Sox Opening Day starting lineup. Jared Shuster, the apparent favorite as the fifth starter, punched his card with another fine performance in yesterday's appearance, going six strong innings allowing just two hits and two earned runs.
Dodd got through the first inning scoreless after surrendering an off-the-wall double by Rafael Devers and a walk, sandwiched in between three strikeouts. The Braves 24-year-old prospect breezed through the second with a 1-2-3 inning. The Braves opened up the scoring in the top of the third when Sean Murphy hit a 400 ft. ground rule double with Ozzie Albies on first. With runners at second and third, Sam Hilliard singled in Murphy. Braves up 1-0.
But the Red Sox break out on top in the third inning after Dodd gave up a two-run homer by Justin Turner. The Braves answered back in the fourth with a game-tying solo shot by Albies over the right field wall. Yes, that's his fourth homer of the spring. Dodd was replaced by Ian Mejia in the fifth inning after allowing a leadoff double by former Braves outfielder, Adam Duvall. The Red Sox would end up scoring three runs in the inning, one charged to Dodd and the other two to Mejia. Red Sox ahead 5-2.
With most of the Braves starters out, the backups rallied to tie the game up 5-5 in the top of the eighth. Red Sox reliever Chris Martin was lit up for a double, three singles, a walk, two stolen bases, and two runs. Unfortunately, Mejia would allow the Red Sox to pull back into the lead by giving up two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
But all was not lost. The Braves substitute players would tally up three earned runs off of former Braves closer Kenley Jansen to go up 8-7. Jansen left the game in the middle of the inning with a trainer suggesting a possible injury. Braves reliever Joe Harvey couldn't protect the lead allowing a two-run homer to Triston Casas, as the Braves lose to the Sox 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth.
Dodd gave up more hits (8) and runs (3) than he gave up all Spring Training. Not the numbers we're used to seeing from him this Spring. He seemingly opened the door wider for Shuster to make the starting rotation. The Braves' bats were hot tonight totaling 17 hits. Matt Olson, Orlando Arcia, Albies, and Murphy all had two hits a piece.
Next up for the Braves is a pair of split squad games against the Minnesota Twins. Both games have a starting time of 1:05 EST. Max Fried and Kyle Wright are the expected starters for the matchups.