Braves News: Spencer Strider earns chance to silence Philly fans on Opening Day

The Braves have finally revealed who will take the ball on Opening Day against the Phillies.

Spencer Strider will get the ball for Atlanta on Opening Day for the 2024 season.
Spencer Strider will get the ball for Atlanta on Opening Day for the 2024 season. / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves are closing in on their first competition of the 2024 regular season.

The organization just gave fans clarity on who would be the fifth starter in the rotation. One of the main questions left unanswered was who would be named the Opening Day starter. Atlanta is in a rare position where they have two incredibly talented pitchers worthy of starting the first game of the season.

Most would assume manager Brian Snitker would just go with Max Fried since he has been the Opening Day starter for the Braves over the last three years. However, Spencer Strider has emerged as one of the league's best pitchers and complicated that decision a bit. There is even talk of Strider being the early NL Cy Young favorite.

This Spring, Strider has been incredibly dominant and looks to be in mid-season form. He is 3-0 through 18.2 innings pitched with no runs allowed, 11 hits, seven walks, and 29 strikeouts. The walks are something Strider needs to work on but hopefully, the addition of his new curveball will help him put away batters and not fall into as many deep counts.

Fried hasn't been super sharp this spring as he carries a 4.91 ERA through 11 innings pitched. He's allowed six earned runs on eight hits with four walks and eight strikeouts. His curveball has looked sharp but the command has just been a tad off. That isn't too abnormal for Spring Training, however. Fried could still pitch well for Atlanta and be an X-factor for the team in his walk year.

Atlanta Braves name Strider Opening Day starter against NL East rival

The Braves decided it was time to remove any remaining mystery by naming Strider the Opening Day starter for 2024 on Tuesday afternoon. Atlanta will start the season on the road against the pesky Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Philly fans will likely be chomping at the bit to talk smack on Spencer Strider as they have done since Rhys Hoskins' bat slam in the 2022 NLDS. There is a belief that the Phillies "own" Strider and Braves fans will likely see that narrative floating around over the next two weeks.

However, if we get into the numbers, Spencer is 8-0 with a 1.90 ERA in eight regular-season games (seven starts) against the Phillies, including three of those wins at Philadelphia. His ERA when starting those three games in Philly sits at 1.42, hardly what I'd call being dominated.

Yes, Philly fans are going to say they own Strider as they have beaten him thrice in the postseason. Those three starts are the only postseason baseball games he's ever participated in.

The 2022 NLDS was rough for Strider and the Phillies definitely torched him during that game. He lasted just two innings and allowed five runs over 2.1 innings of work. However, he was also just coming back to pitch after being on the IL with an oblique injury.

2023 was a slightly different story as Strider pitched pretty darn well but the Braves' historically good offense disappeared and didn't give him any run support. Through two starts during the 2023 NLDS, Strider earned a 2.84 ERA allowing four earned runs on 12 hits with five walks and 15 strikeouts.

It makes sense why they would be excited to face Strider but their joy is a tad misguided as Strider is incredibly good against them in the regular season. He's also got another season under his belt and a new pitch for hitters to contend with.

Spencer seems like the type who probably feeds off of things like that so it likely isn't something that bothers him at all. He has earned the right to be named Atlanta's Opening Day starter. It will be a nice treat to see him on the mound facing off with one of the Braves' biggest rivals.

Strider will face off with Phillies' ace Zach Wheeler at Citizens Bank Park. Game one of the season kicks off at 3:05 PM EST and can be seen on Bally Sports South.

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