The 2023 Atlanta Braves are experiencing something they haven't dealt with in over two months: a four-game losing streak.
Atlanta lost four games between a series finale in Boston and three games in Toronto, being handed a sweep by the Blue Jays in late May. Since that stretch, all the Braves have done is put up a record of 36-18, and hit a lot of home runs.
Now, fresh off a historic first half of the season, the Braves have stumbled out of the gate to a 1-4 start, and need a win in Thursday's morning tilt with Arizona to avoid the longest losing streak by a Braves team since the 2017 team lost six games in a row on four separate occasions.
What to Watch for in Thursday's game
Braves face a Gallen of pitching talent
Even during this losing streak, the Braves are still mashing at the plate. Between the two losses to Arizona this week, Atlanta has hit five home runs. Three of those have come from Austin Riley, who is fresh off a record-setting seven RBI performance in Tuesday's shootout loss. Very few teams, (two over the last 5-6 weeks) have kept the Braves from hitting one over the fence.
The Diamondbacks are sending Cy Young contender Zac Gallen to the mound, fresh off just his fourth loss of 2023. The 27-year-old righty has gotten tagged a couple of times this month and has given up a home run in eight of his last ten starts.
If the Braves can whip up some patented first-inning offense to make Gallen work and get into the D-Backs bullpen early, it would make Spencer Strider's day a whole lot easier.
Spencer's Strikeout Symposium
The earned runs are higher than they need to be for a time struggling to find consistency as a pitching staff in recent weeks, but Spencer Strider continues to dominate batters in every single start.
Over his last four starts, Strider has struck out 40 batters and allowed nine earned runs, five of those coming in Saturday's loss to the White Sox.
This Diamondbacks team doesn't strike out often, ranking in the bottom three for least strikeouts this year. Atlanta's flamethrower will have to earn every "K" on Thursday.