On Friday, the Atlanta Braves will welcome old friend Joc Pederson and the San Francisco Giants to Truist Park. The Braves are coming off a sweep of the New York Yankees plus a day of rest. Meanwhile, San Francisco heads into town following a series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Flame-throwing Spencer Strider will take the mound for the home team. Strider had some struggles but seemed to return to form in his last start against the New York Mets. He only allowed three hits across seven innings and struck out six. He did issue a total of four free passes. This is something he will have to get under control when facing a 64-57 Giant's offense.
Alex Cobb will be Strider's opposition on Friday. Cobb is coming off of a rough outing where he got pulled in the 4th inning. He went a total of 4.1 innings against the Texas Rangers surrendering a total of six earned runs. However, Cobb has been solid overall this season, posting a 3.62 ERA.
What to Watch For:
1. Braves Offense is Hot (Again)
The Braves offense is continuing to post ridicllous numbers this season. In their past seven games, they have scored a total of 58 runs. That is an average of a little over 8 runs a game.
Ozzie Albies is still on the IL, but the offense has not missed a beat. Nicky Lopez has proved to be a great trade deadline acquisition. Michael Harris II has jumped into the two spot in the order and immediately produced. Vaughn Grissom has been recalled and seems to always hit when he has the chance. Not to mention Eddie Rosario is red hot.
Most teams in the MLB would be devestated to lose a guy like Albies who is hitting .267 this season to go along with 28 homeruns. Ozzie is still the everyday second basemen but do not expect this offense to miss a beat just because he is sidelined with an injury. If anything, this could be best for his long-term health to give him a rest before the playoffs.
2. Joc Pederson
Joc Pederson has played a total of 1,104 games in his MLB career. Only 64 of those games were spent in an Atlanta Braves jersey.
It is rare for a player who was around for such a short amount of time to make such a big impact. Pederson was acquired by the Braves at the historic 2021 trade deadline that ultimately ended in a World Series championship.
Expect Pederson to show up to Atlanta with a smile on his face when he reunites with some of his former teammates and gets the chance to reminisce. It would not be the least bit surprising to see the Braves faithful welcome Joc with a standing ovation in his first at-bat on Friday night.
3. Starting Pitchers
Both starting pitchers on Friday will enter the game with a sub 4.00 ERA. While each of these two individuals are coming off of very different starts, they have both produced for their teams well in 2023.
Spencer Strider will have to show a little more command than what he did last time out or the Giants will take advantage. If he can make San Franisco hitters earn their way on base via hits, he will have a good chance to put himself in line for his 14th win of the season.
Alex Cobb is facing the one lineup in baseball no starter wants to see right now. Coming off of a rough outing against the Texas Rangers, he will be wanting to prove that he indeed has what it takes to quiet loud bats.
SF: Alex Cobb (6-4, 3.62 ERA)
ATL: Spencer Strider (13-4, 3.75 ERA)
Date: August 18th, 2023
Time: 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park (Atlanta, GA)
TV/Radio: BSSO; 680 AM The Fan