Skip to main content

Braves turn to Spencer Strider in bid to deck Cards

Aug 25, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Ace Spencer Strider will try to get the Atlanta Braves’ starting pitching back on track Wednesday in the middle contest of a three-game series against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals (60-78) posted a 10-6 victory over the Braves (90-47) in the series opener on Tuesday.

The loss was the second in a row for Atlanta, which received just seven innings combined from starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Mike Soroka.

Strider (16-4, 3.56 ERA) has been the team’s stopper. The right-hander went 5-1 with a 2.97 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings in August.

He struck out nine batters in his most recent start and overcame four runs on as many hits in six innings to pick up the victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Strider is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals.

Before the series, the Braves optioned pitcher Ben Heller to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Soroka. Manager Brian Snitker said Atlanta will lean on its minor league pitching depth to close out the regular season.

“I don’t know that there’s anybody down there that’s available that we haven’t used,” Snitker said. “We will continue to use them the rest of the month.

“We started talking about it in February when we started pitcher-catcher camp. The importance of it in the organization and like I say, we’ve used every bit of it that we’ve had. They’ve all been a part and I think they’ve all won games. They’ve all helped us win, and it’s really a good thing.”

Dakota Hudson (5-1, 4.02 ERA) will try to extend his strong finish for the Cardinals when he takes the mound on Wednesday. The right-hander has allowed three runs or fewer in five of his past six outings.

Hudson held the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run on three hits and two walks in seven innings in his most recent outing last Friday. He didn’t record a strikeout, however he induced 14 ground balls.

“It depends on the kinds of swings I’m getting,” Hudson told Bally Sports Midwest. “I felt like there was pretty weak contact or a few shallow pop-ups. Maybe one or two balls were hit hard. So as long as I’m controlling counts and not having a whole lot of traffic in scoring position, I think it’s manageable game.”

Hudson is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three career appearances against the Braves, including two starts.

The Cardinals also made roster moves. Reliever JoJo Romero (knee sprain) landed on the 15-day injured list and fellow left-hander Matthew Liberatore (back strain) returned from the IL to fill the bullpen void.

Romero has been helping fill the closer’s role. Ryan Helsley is back from the injured list after recovering from a forearm strain, but the Cardinals will avoid pitching him in back-to-back games.

“Moving forward it will be a combination of guys (closing). It’s just where we’re at, unfortunately,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “When Helsley is available, he’ll pitch. And when he’s not, it’ll be a combination and, when we’re in a lefty lane, it could be somebody different. That’s the position we’re in.”

The Cardinals also swapped out infielders, designating Taylor Motter for assignment while recalling Jose Fermin.

–Field Level Media