The Atlanta Braves will square off against the Washington Nationals in game two of the 2023 season today at 4:05 pm. Spencer Strider is coming off of a record-setting rookie season and the Braves hope to see more from the 'Stache this Saturday as he takes the mound against Josiah Gray and the overmatched Washington Nationals. The Braves are favored at -1.5 runs.
Spencer Strider beat Randy Johnson's record last season as the fastest pitcher to reach 200 Ks in a season. Beating the Big Unit by just two outs. Strider reached the 200-strikeout plateau in exactly 130 innings, beating Randy Johnson's feat of 200 strikeouts in 130.2 innings, set back in 2001. Strider also set the single-game franchise record with 16 strikeouts in a nine-inning game against the Rockies last September.
Atlanta Braves: Things to Watch
Acuna on the basepaths. We saw Ronald Acuna Jr. enjoying the new pickoff rules on Opening Day. Patrick Corbin went over twice and Acuna held up two fingers to his coach and nodded his head. Everyone knew he was taking second base after that, and he did. Will Acuna maintain his pace for 162 steals this season?
Ozzie Albies was slotted in as the cleanup hitter on Thursday against LHP Patrick Corbin. Albies is a monster from the right side. It will be interesting to see where Albies bats in a stacked lineup against a right-handed pitcher.
Are we seeing a platoon in LF between Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna? It will be interesting to see if Rosario gets the start against the righty. Rosario, being the left-handed hitter, has a better career OPS against right-handed pitching than Ozuna. I like platoons. You get the best of both players and they usually equal one really good player. This could be fun.
Who will DH? If Rosario gets the start in left, will Ozuna or the catcher not catching get the nod at DH. I'm very interested in seeing how Snit sets the lineup today.
While the Spencer Strider hype train is taking off today, the Nationals' number two pitcher in the rotation Josiah Gray brings a career 5.17 ERA to the table. Ozzie Albies comes in hitting .429 against the righty in seven at-bats. Matt Olson has one homer off Gray in just three at-bats. Finally, Travis d'Arnaud has two hits and one homer in four at-bats against Gray. Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, and Michael Harris II have gone a combined 1-16 against the young righty.
Nationals' young shortstop C.J. Abrams had a forgettable Opening Day, committing three errors. Hopefully, he can overcome that and continue his progression as a major-leaguer.
I hope you all are as hyped as I am about seeing the electric Spencer Strider take the mound for the first time in his sophomore season. This Nationals' lineup is pretty rough and pitching typically has the advantage earlier in the season. Could we see Strider break his own record today? Possibly. One thing is for sure, I'm taking the over on 6.5 strikeouts for Strider today!
You can watch the game on Bally Sports Southeast or MLB.TV if you are out of market. Listen on the MLB app or 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan.