Vines' encouraging spot start in Houston is exactly what the Braves needed

Atlanta's young starter had a very good outing as they took down the Astros on Monday evening.
Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros
Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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The Braves aren't in the best position since losing Spencer Strider to injury. They have to try and find a suitable replacement for his rotation spot.

Darius Vines got the opportunity to show what he could offer to Atlanta during Monday's game with the Astros. Vines had gotten to pitch for the Braves five times (two starts) in 2023 and did pretty well with a 3.98 ERA through 20.1 innings.

He was called up in 2024 after Allan Winans was optioned to Triple-A due to a rough start against the Mets. Atlanta hoped for a better experience for Vines but he had his work cut out for him against a talented Astros lineup.

The first inning was rough as he allowed two singles and walked two batters as the Astros scored one run. However, he escaped the inning without further damage and the Braves offense scored two runs in the top of the second to give him a chance to start anew.

This seemed to help Vines settle in a little more as he pitched more confidently. His cutter started to have a bit more movement which allowed him to keep hitters off balance. He allowed two more hits before his day ended. He completed 4.2 innings with one run on four hits including three walks and four strikeouts.

According to Braves insider Mark Bowman, Vines found some reassurance during a glove check between innings. Apparently, umpire Phil Cuzzi saw that Vines had his father's name on his glove and stated "Just know, he is always here with you." Vines informed Bowman this happened around the third inning and helped him "find a groove a little bit."

This was just another part of a special day for the young starter as he pitched on Jackie Robinson Day and that was an important part of his relationship with his father. His Dad, Randi, passed away before Vines could make it to the Major Leagues but his lessons stuck with Vines.

He made sure to tell him the importance of Jackie Robinson and what he did for baseball. Randi also told Vines "Don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t because of your color." This was to help his son never give up on reaching for the dream he had of playing baseball professionally. Robinson's determination and talent helped break the color barrier that plagued the sport for entirely too long.

Jackie paved the way for so many talented players to finally get the opportunity to play in a sport that should include everyone. Pitching on such a hallowed day in baseball was extremely special for Darius Vines and hopefully helps with his confidence in pitching on an MLB mound. Manager Brian Snitker was very impressed with what he saw from Vines.

His ability to get through the first inning and gradually improve his pitches throughout the game (especially his changeup) is encouraging and, in my opinion, earned him a second starting opportunity. The Braves could go to Elder if they wanted to but why not let Vines carry this momentum into another start?

As of right now, he is still on the roster so we will see what the Braves decide. It was encouraging to see Vines' ability to adapt in the moment. That's what big league pitchers should be able to do.

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