Braves Preview: Michael Soroka makes his return as the Braves go up against Oakland

Houston Astros v Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros v Atlanta Braves / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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In case you haven’t had the chance to follow along recently, we here at HTHB are very much excited about the return of Michael Soroka. We have been following along since we heard Soroka starting Monday was a possibility, and last night after the Braves routed the Phillies, we all were blessed with a tweet so good we nearly cried.

It’s ok to cry Braves fans, this is as emotional a return as you can expect. It has been 1,028 days since Soroka last took a big league mound. He has faced more hurdles than anyone in recent memory, and after a long fight back tonight, we can celebrate. I don’t think the Braves could have picked a better spot for him to return as the A’s will be entering tonight on a 11 game losing streak, and the crowd in Oakland isn’t exactly going to be a sellout tonight.

Braves vs. A’s Pitching Matchup

Tonight’s pitching matchup will actually feature two guys making their season debut in the Bay Area. Not only will our Canadian son return, but Oakland will see the return of their all-star representative last season, Paul Blackburn. Last season Blackburn started 21 games with a 7-6 record, 4.28 ERA, and 4.21 FIP. Only a few Braves hitters even have a couple AB’s against Blackburn, so it‘s going to have an early feeling out process from both sides I’m sure.

Michael Soroka will be pitching in front of a big league “crowd” for the first time since game three of the 2019 NLDS agaisnt the Cardinals. As I mentioned this is probably the perfect place to bring Soroka back, because of what’s been going on with the A’s this year it should have a minor league crowd type atmosphere. Down in Gwinnett this season Soroka started eight games with a 4.33 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, in just over 31 innings pitched. However, his last start in Gwinnett may have been his best as he went 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, and 8 Ks.

Keep an eye out for Soroka’s command as his BB/9 has hovered around 3 since his rehab stint last season. Before the injuries Soroka had never had a BB/9 much higher than two, so he’s very much still battling with his control at times. David O’Brien put together this piece in the Athletic in the offseason, detailing how Soroka has had to reinvent his delivery so that he wasn’t putting so much pressure on the right Achilles when he landed. The amount of time and hard work Soroka has put in to get to tonight is unfathomable, so don’t be down if the results aren’t there. Soroka simply pitching again is a huge accomplishment in itself, although I don’t put anything past him because of his talent and work ethic, so at the same time don’t rule out tears of joy after a six inning masterpiece either.

How to watch

Date/Time/Location: 5/29/23 at 8:07 PM EST at Oakland Coliseum

TV: Bally Sports Southeast

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan