Dylan Dodd was today's starter in his bid to beat out Jared Shuster for the Atlanta Braves' fifth spot in the starting rotation. After Ian Anderson and Bryce Elder were optioned to the minors, the spotlight has been on Dodd and Shuster, and both pitchers have shined brightly. Shuster put the pressure on yesterday with his four innings of shutout ball, while striking out seven. But Dodd answered back with a nice performance of his own.
The 24-year-old lefthander started out a bit shaky, giving up a home run to the Phillies' leadoff hitter, Brandon Marsh. That's the first and only run he's allowed this Spring. After that, Dodd settled in nicely, going 4.2 innings and striking out four. The only other hit he surrendered was a hard-hit ball by Darik Hall that was well-played off the wall by Sam Hilliard, holding him to a single.
The Braves answered back in the third inning when Austin Riley hit a line-drive double with two men on, scoring Orlando Arcia for the tying run. Arcia continued his productive night by driving in Vaughn Grissom from second for the go-ahead run and following that up with a three-run homer in the sixth. The Braves lineup batted around that inning extending their lead to 5-1. The Braves end up winning by that score, with the pitching staff only yielding two hits to the Phillies.
The battle for the last spot in the starting rotation has become one of the most unexpected and intriguing competitions this Spring. With only ten games left to play out in Spring Training, Braves Manager, Brian Snitker, has his job cut out for him. But when you have two pitchers throwing as well as Dodd and Shuster, it's not necessarily a bad thing either.
Upcoming Braves Schedule
Next up in the Braves Grapefruit League schedule is a matchup with the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 EST. Max Fried is expected to start that game as he attempts to keep his scoreless streak going this Spring.