Atlanta Braves; He’s Back to Filet Some Fish

It’s Ronald Acuña Jr.’s bobblehead night at Truist Park tonight for a spectacular night of baseball, and the Atlanta Braves fans are here for it. The Braves are off to a blazing hot start (14-6); Marcell Ozuna is on pace for 71 home runs, and the World Series can’t get here fast enough. Bobbleheads and potential homerun records aside, this game is the most intriguing of the evening, as the Braves have recalled their prodigal son to the mound tonight.

Bryce Elder is Back to Filet The Fish

Bryce Elder is back, and we are all here for it. Before we dive into the details of Elder’s upcoming performance, let’s revisit his journey to stardom. A year ago, Elder was starting his All-Star campaign in the first half of 2023. His remarkable performance led to an impressive 14-win season and 2.97 ERA while ringing up 175 batters, which is no small feat for a player in the initial stages of his career,  yet, Elder’s journey wasn’t all aces.

The second half of the 2023 season saw him struggle with a 5.11 ERA. His performance in the playoffs all but got the Braves eliminated, and he lost the race for the fifth starter’s spot this spring due to an 8.25 ERA.

It seems he was a victim of the new MLB data machine, rookie pitchers seeing unprecedented and astonishing starts. Then, after seven or so starts, the data is out, the league catches up, and they get exposed. Unfortunately for Elder, this happened at the wrong time, when the Braves needed him most, the playoffs—however, the beauty of sports lies in the unpredictability and the opportunity for redemption.

Elder’s season debut is more than just a game; it’s an opportunity to turn his young career around. Elder has the potential to emerge as a successful player and has earned this second chance. In three Milb starts this year he is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA and 18Ks over 16 innings, and again his walk ratio remains low. His prior encounters with the Marlins have shown promise; in 2023, he faced the Marlins twice, going 1-0, pitching 12.1 innings, and only giving up four runs while striking out nine. Most impressively, he only walked two of those 37 batters.

That was a better Marlins team last year; they are struggling a bit (6-17) this season. It’s the perfect matchup to get back into the show, and Elder should have some good support with the Braves lineup facing lefty Ryan Weathers.

The goal for Elder in the upcoming game is not necessarily to dominate but to keep the Braves in a position to win after five or six innings and put up four or more Ks. If he can do that, he will have done his job. A win here could significantly boost his confidence and pave the way for success in the coming games.

Should Elder produce a good start against the Marlins, it will be intriguing to see how the Braves utilize him moving forward. While the Braves have plenty of depth in the minors, if Elder or any other pitcher can maintain success, they could see extended time in the rotation. All eyes are on you tonight, Bryce; filet those fish!

Main Image: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

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