Recap: Spencer Strider was not as sharp in Game Two against Dodgers

May 23, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) pitches
May 23, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) pitches / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves had hoped things would be a little different in game two of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately, things were not as they'd hoped as the Dodgers' offense was able to get to Spencer Strider on Tuesday evening.

Strider was unable to find the consistency that has allowed him to find a lot of success in his early career. The Dodgers were able to score four runs over the six innings that Spencer was on the mound. He allowed five hits and struck out eleven batters but walked three batters as well.

Another issue that Strider has faced these last two starts is the long ball and walks. He allowed a home run to Jason Heyward tonight and allowed two in his start against the Rangers. He'd only allowed three homers over his previous eight starts combined to these two most recent starts.

LA got things started early as Mookie Betts reached to lead off the game with a double to left. Betts then scored thanks to an RBI single by Dodger catcher Will Smith. Fortunately, Spencer was able to escape the first inning with just one run scoring.

Atlanta faced off with the Dodgers' number two overall prospect, Bobby Miller, who was making his MLB debut at Truist Park. Things looked promising for the Braves early as they seemed to be all over Miller's 100mph fastball. Sean Murphy squared a ball up and singled to left field and was driven in on an absolute rocket double from Austin Riley to tie things at one apiece.

Jason Heyward very quickly broke that tie with a solo homer to lead off the second inning for LA. Spencer settled after that and got the next two outs with back-to-back strikeouts and would have gotten the third out had it not been for a rare error by Matt Olson at first base that allowed Miguel Rojas to get to first safely.

Mookie Betts would then walk and after falling behind Freddie Freeman, the Braves opted to walk Freeman to load the bases and have a force out at every base. Unfortunately, Will Smith then doubled to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead over the Braves. Strider struck out Max Muncy to end the inning.

The Atlanta offense was unable to mount anything else against Miller as he allowed just one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts over five innings of work. The Dodgers bullpen struck out five more Braves and allowed just one run as the Braves once again score early but cannot add anything on in the later innings.

Los Angeles added another run in the seventh after Collin McHugh checked in to the game in relief. He walked Mookie Betts then allowed a single to Will Smith (who was 3-for-4 on the day) and allowed an RBI single to Max Muncy that scored Betts to increase the Dodgers lead to 5-1.

McHugh finished the game allowing one run on two hits with one walk in one inning of work. McHugh has been pretty solid for the Braves this season but clearly didn't have his best on Tuesday evening. He was then relieved by Michael Tonkin who pitched pretty well in the eighth inning with a 1-2-3 inning.

Things did not go so well in the top of the ninth, Tonkin allowed a single to Freeman, a walk to Muncy and a back-breaking three-run homer to J.D. Martinez to give the Dodgers an 8-1 lead headed to the bottom of the ninth. Martinez has hit three homers in the series so far for LA.

Tonkin finished with two innings of work allowing three runs on two hits with the one walk. He threw 37 pitches with 22 strikes. Tonkin has been a nice surprise for the Braves bullpen so far this season but he just didn't have his best stuff Tuesday night. The bullpen issues have become a bit alarming as of late for the Braves. Probably an area we see AA focus on in the coming months if things do not improve.

Atlanta, unfortunately, went quiet in the bottom of the ninth and dropped game two of the series to give the Braves a series loss. Hard to know the Dodgers had two young starters take the mound for the first two games and the team was unable to walk away with a win in either game. That's a tough pill to swallow but they have to try and put it behind them and salvage at least one game in the series before the Phillies come to town.