Thursday, June 13, 2024
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MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves (84-45) at Colorado Rockies (49-81)

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES:

Last Time vs. Colorado
Atlanta is set for its second series of the season with Colorado after sweeping the Rockies in four games at Truist Park, June 15-18 The Braves scored 40 runs over their four-game series with the Rockies, outscoring Colorado 40-12 (+28). In the divisional era (since 1969), that is tied for the third-most runs scored by Atlanta in a four-game set. Three of the four highest totals have come against Colorado – 46 at the Rockies in 1993, 43 at the Expos in 2003 and 40 versus the Rockies in 2013. That series is Atlanta’s only four-game sweep of the season.

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Rockies tonight open a three-game series with the fifth of seven total games between the clubs this season….Atlanta and Colorado played a four-game set at Truist Park, June 15-18. The Braves swept all four games with the Rockies this season and are 10-1 in their last 11 games against Colorado dating to last year. Atlanta went 6-1 in seven games with Colorado last season, the Braves’ most wins in a single season versus the Rockies since winning six in every year from 2011-2013. Last season marked the first time the Braves won the season set with the Rockies since going 4-3 in 2014…From 2015 through 2021, Atlanta played to just a 12-28 (.300) record versus the Rockies… Colorado played to a .700 winning percentage versus Atlanta in those years, but just a .477 winning percentage overall. The Braves swept all four games at Coors Field last season, Atlanta’s first four-game sweep here in franchise history…Atlanta has won five straight games here dating to 2021, its second-longest winning streak in this building…The Braves won six straight here from 2011-2013. RH Bryce Elder is making his first career start at Coors Field and his second versus Colorado… The 6-foot-2, 220-pound right-hander beat the Rockies earlier this season, June 17 at Truist Park, pitching 6.0 one-run innings…Elder has won two straight turns to give him 10 wins on the season, combining to allow just three hits and one run over his last 12.1 innings. LH Austin Gomber is making his sixth appearance and third career start versus Atlanta, and is 1-1 with a 7.94 ERA (10 ER/11.1 IP)…Nine of the 10 earned runs he allowed came over 5.1 innings in two games, one start, against the Braves last season…The 6-foot-5, 220-pound native of Winter Garden, FL, has made a career-most 26 starts for the Rockies this season, going an even 9-9 with a 5.48 ERA (83 ER/136.1 IP).

LOSS: The Braves lost to the Giants, 8-5, yesterday afternoon to snap their four-game winning streak… Atlanta could not complete the sweep, but moved to 16-4-1 in series on the road this season. Atlanta lost for just the 12th time this season when scoring at least five runs, and are 67-12 (.848) in such games…That is the best record in the National League. The Braves fell to 28-16 (.636) in day games on the season, yet still retained the best such record in baseball…Baltimore also lost, to tonight’s opponent Colorado, to go 31-18 (.633) in day games and rank second. San Francisco opened the scoring with runs in the first and second, and Atlanta is 18-25 (.419) when allowing the first run this season…Just four teams have better records when doing so.

ROSTER MOVE: The Braves today reinstated INF Ozzie Albies from the injured list, recalled RHP Darius Vines to Atlanta, and optioned LHP Jared Shuster and INF Vaughn Grissom to Triple-A Gwinnett….Vines’ first appearance will mark his major league debut. • Vines is currently rated by MLB.com as Atlanta’s No. 10 prospect. In nine games, all starts, across three levels of Atlanta’s minor league system this season, Vines is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA (13 ER/43.1 IP) and 46 strikeouts,
including a 2.86 ERA (9 ER/28.1 IP) and all four decisions in five starts with Gwinnett. Originally drafted by Atlanta in the seventh round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal-State Bakersfield, Vines is 16-15 with 3.63 ERA (132 ER/327.1 IP) in 70 career games, 67 starts. Albies returns after missing 12 games with a strained left hamstring.

TRADE PARTNERS: Atlanta and Colorado completed a pair of trades in July, with the Braves acquiring current bullpen pieces Pierce Johnson and Brad Hand in separate deals. Atlanta sent minor-league pitchers Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon to Colorado for Johnson, and Alec Barger for Hand. In 13 games since joining Atlanta, Johnson is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA and 17 strikeouts, allowing just 10 hits and one earned run in 13.0 innings…In 43 games for the Rockies prior to the trade, he was 1-5 with a 6.00 ERA (26 ER/39.0 IP) and 58 strikeouts. Hand has pitched in eight games for Atlanta, compiling a 6.75 ERA (6 ER/8.0 IP) without a record…In 40 games with Colorado to open the season, he was 3-1 with a 4.54 ERA (18 ER/35.2 IP).

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #55 Bryce Elder RHP
2023 Record: 10-4, 3.39 ERA • 2022 Record: 2-4, 3.17 ERA
vs. RHB: .231 (62-269), 7 HR • vs. LHB: .239 (62-260), 7 HR
Home: 6-1, 3.02 ERA (27 ER/80.1 IP) • Away: 4-3, 3.86 ERA (27 ER/63.0 IP)

Today’s Game
Set to make his second career start against Colorado and 26th on the season. Pitched 6.0 innings of one-run ball in his last start against the Rockies on June 17. Elder’s 3.39 ERA on the season is the seventh lowest in the NL among qualifiers. Sported a 1.92 ERA in 11 starts prior to June 1. Pitching to a 4.64 ERA over his last 14 starts since the beginning of June. Teammates Charlie Morton and Spencer Strider rank sixth and eighth respectively; Atlanta is the only team in the National League with three qualified starters ranking in the top 10. Elder’s 6.35 ERA with ROB is the seventh lowest in the NL among qualifiers. Opponents are hitting .210 against him with runners on base, the fifth lowest rate in the majors (among QS). Owns a 75.4 left-on-base percentage. His groundball rate of 52.4% of balls put in play is the fifth highest in the majors among qualified starters. Has recorded an out on 59.1% of those grounders put in play. The average launch angle of balls put in play against Elder is 7.90; sixth lowest in the National League. Elder is pitching to a 2.68 ERA while holding opponents to a .225/.293/.348 line
the first two times through the lineup. Conversely, owns a 6.17 ERA and hitters have a line of .264/.338/.410 the third time through the order and on. Is 11-4 with a 3.24 ERA over his last 30 games started after being recalled from triple-A Gwinnett, dating to August 14, 2022. He has six starts in his career of at least 6.0 innings without allowing a run, the most such games in Braves franchise history (since 1900) in a player’s first 25 starts…Irv Young (1905), Clif Curtis (1909-’10) and Ian Anderson (’20-21) each had five such starts.

2023 Recap
Held the Yankees to one hit over 7.0 shutout innings on August 15. Became the 10th pitcher in Atlanta franchise history to spin 7.0 scoreless innings while limiting an opponent to one hit or less at the age of 24 or younger. Teammate Spencer Strider also did it earlier this season. Named to the 2023 National League All-Star Team, his first selection. Joined Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz and Michael Soroka as the only starters in Atlanta-franchise history to make the All-Star team in their second year playing. Joined Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz, Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran as the only Atlanta-era pitchers, age 24 or younger to post a 2.40 ERA or lower through their first 15 starts to a season. Elder has 20 games of at least 5.1 innings pitched in 25 career starts; the most in Atlanta franchise history through as many games started. Elder’s 2.30 ERA through 20 career starts is the lowest in Atlanta franchise history to begin a career. His 117.1 innings pitched through his first 20 games started were the most by an Atlanta player to begin their career since Julio Teheran in 2011-13. His 30 earned runs allwed are also the fewest during that span. Elder has held opponents to one run or less in nine games this season while pitching at least 5.0 frames in every outing. His 13 appearances of at least 5.0 innings pitched while holding opponents to one run or less are the most through a player’s first 25 outings in Atlanta franchise history

COLORADO ROCKIES NOTES:

A MILE HIGH
The Colorado Rockies enter a six-game, seven-day homestand beginning tonight with Atlanta (Monday-Wednesday) … will face Toronto Friday-Sunday, the Blue Jays’ first trip to Coors Field since 2019 … Colorado is in a stretch of eight-straight opponents with a record of .500 or better. The Rockies are coming off a 1-5 road trip to Tampa Bay (0-3) and Baltimore (1-2) … four of five losses were by two or fewer runs … snapped a streak of 10 consecutive road losses with a win on Sunday.

PASS THE TEST OF TIME
Rockies Manager Bud Black managed his 1,000th game with the club Sunday in Baltimore joining Clint Hurdle as the only manager in franchise history to reach the mark. Black also managed 1,362 games with the Padres from 2007-15 … he is the 12th manager in Major League history to manage at least 1,000 games with two difference clubs, joining Leo Durocher (three teams), Tony La Russa (three teams), Sparky Anderson, Bruce Bochy (active), Terry Francona (active), Bucky Harris, Hurdle, Jim Leyland, Gene Mauch, Bill McKechnie and Bobby Valentine.

THE WORM WILL TURN
The Rockies lost Saturday’s game 5-4 … held a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning before allowing three runs in the bottom half of the frame … are the first team in the Modern Era to hold a lead in the sixth inning or later in six-straight games but lose all six. Prior to Saturday, the Rockies had lost five-straight when leading or tied entering the eighth inning, the first team since the 1970 Expos to lose five straight games when leading or tied entering the eighth inning in each game.

BE BRAVE
The Rockies were swept in a four-game set in Atlanta June 15-18 and were outscored 40-12 in the set … marked their first time getting swept in Atlanta since July 29-Aug. 1, 2013 … gave up 49 hits and 12 home runs in the series. The Rockies have lost 10 of their last 11 against the Braves and were also swept in a four-game set the last time Atlanta visited Denver June 2-5, 2022.

ESPRIT DE CORPS
The Rockies have used a franchise record 33 total pitchers this season, two more than the 2019 club’s 31 hurlers … the Rockies have also tied the franchise record by using 15 different starting pitchers this season, tied with the 1993 and 2014 clubs for the most starters used in franchise history. The Rockies have used 55 total players, tying a franchise record set in 2011. Left-hander Evan Justice made his Major League debut on Saturday and infielder/outfielder Hunter Goodman debuted Sunday, the seventh and eighth Rockies players this season to make their debut.

WE TALK TO OUR GUYS
22-year-old Ezequiel Tovar hit his 15th home run of the season Friday, the fifth rookie in franchise history to hit 15 home runs in a season, joining Wilin Rosario (28, 2012), Trevor Story (27, 2016), Todd Helton (25, 1998) and Troy Tulowitzki (24, 2007). Tovar’s 118 hits are the seventh-most by a rookie in franchise history, the most since Nolan Arenado’s 130 hits in 2013 … his 59 RBI rank sixth by a rookie, the most since Story in 2016 (72 RBI). Nolan Jones is tied for seventh among rookies in franchise history with 13 home runs … his 19.31 at-bats per home run rate ranks fourth among rookies in franchise history (min. 200 PA), trailing Trevor
Story (13.78, 2016), Wilin Rosario (14.14, 2012) and Jose Ortiz (15.69, 2001). Tovar and Jones are the third pair of rookies in franchise history to each hit at least 10 home runs in a season, joining Luis Gonzalez/Matt Holliday (2004) and Garrett Atkins/Clint Barmes (2005) … they are the only pair to hit at least 13 home runs.

WALKS WILL HAUNT
Ryan McMahon’s 16 defensive runs saved are tied for the sixth-most in the Majors and are the secondmost among all third basemen. Rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar’s eight DRS are tied for the fifth-most among all shortstops, tied for third the NL … his .987 fielding percentage is tied with Troy Tulowitzki (.987, 2007) for the best fielding percentage by a rookie shortstop in Major League history (min. 100 games) (via. STATS PERFORM). Rookie center fielder Brenton Doyle’s 11 defensive runs saved on the season are the most among all NL center fielders … his 95.9 MPH average arm strength ranks sixth among all outfielders and first among center fielders … Doyle’s active 91-game errorless streak is the second-longest by a rookie in Rockies history behind Matt Reynold’s 94 games from 2010-11, and is the second-longest active streak in the NL. Rookie outfielder Nolan Jones has totaled four DRS in the outfield while starting 31 games in right field and 27 in left … his average arm strength of 98.8 MPH is the best among all position players. Jones’ 10 outfield assists are the sixth-most in baseball and the most among all rookies … tied for the most by a Rockies rookie outfielder in franchise history with Brad Hawpe (2005) and tied for the 12th most in a season by any Rockies outfielder.

CLOSER THAN YOU THINK
RHP Anderson Pilar was named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week after he spun hitless, shutout frames at Vancouver on Aug. 23 … the 25-year-old walked three and fanned 13 in the outing, helping the Indians to a 7-1 victory.

26 ROCKIES STARTING PITCHER AUSTIN GOMBER LHP

A FEW CAREER THINGS
Has set a career-high in starts this season, making his 26th tonight (previous: 23 starts in 2021) … his last start in Tampa moved him past Denny Neagle (65 starts) for the sixth-most by a southpaw in franchise history. 136.1 IP this season are also a career-high … his 376.1 innings since joining the Rockie are the eighth-most all-time for a Rockies’ lefty. Picked up his ninth win of the season on Aug. 6 in St. Louis, tying his career-high set in 2021 during his inaugural Rockies season … tossed five innings with eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts. Pitched at least six innings in a career-best seven consecutive starts from June 30 to Aug. 6, going 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA (43.0 IP, 12 ER), six walks and 26 strikeouts … since June 30, holds a 3.38 ERA (53.1 IP, 20 ER).

WALK THIS WAY
In his outing on July 31 vs. San Diego, had his franchise-record walk-less streak snapped at 29.2 innings after walking Ha-Seong Kim with two outs in the third inning, his first walk since June 30 vs. Detroit … has 11 walks over five starts since snapping the streak. • Dating back to June 14, Gomber has walked 14 batters through 13 starts (75.2 IP), a 1.67 BB/9 that is the seventh-lowest in the NL across that span. His two walks in July were tied for the second-fewest in baseball in the month of July behind Ross Stripling’s one walk (min. five games started).

HOARDER
Was the only Rockies starting pitcher to earn a win from May 23-July 21 … his win on June 25 at Washington snapped a 30-game stretch without a starting pitcher earning a win, the longest streak in franchise history and the seventh-longest in Major League history.

WHAT THE BLOOP
Making his sixth career appearance (third start) against the Braves, going 1-1 with a 7.94 ERA (11.1 IP, 10 ER). Allowed a career-high 10 hits while matching a career-high in runs (nine) in his last start against the club June 2, 2022 at Coors Field, a 13-6 Rockies’ loss. Gave up eight runs in his prior start May 28, 2022 at Washington, becoming the third Rockie in history to give up eight or more earned runs in consecutive starts and the first since 1998.

ON YOUR LEFT
Left-handed hitters are batting .360 (40-for-111) with seven home runs off Gomber this season after holding opposing lefties to a .221 average in 2022 (30-for-136), the ninth-lowest in a single season in franchise history (min. 140 batters faced.). Opponent’s .360 average, .631 slugging and 1.036 OPS are all the highest marks in the Majors for left-handed batters against a left-handed pitcher … .405 OBP ranks second.

STREAKS
Began his season with four straight losses through April 19, the eighth time a Rockies starter has started 0-4 through their first four starts of a season … first since Roy Oswalt (five straight, June 20-Sept. 14) and Jeff Manship (four straight, Aug. 8-24) in 2013. Went 4-0 across his next six starts, April 24-May 23, posting a 3.74 ERA (33.2 IP, 14 ER) with three quality starts … Rockies went 7-1 over an eightstart Gomber stretch from April 24-June 3 (4-0, 4.91 ERA). Lost three of his next five starts, May 28-June 19, with a 9.00 ERA in 22 innings with 23 runs (22 earned) … opponents hit .364 off of him over this stretch. Won his next four starts from June 25 to July 14 … three quality starts and a 0.75 BB/9 … the only Rockies starter with two streaks of four winning decisions this season. Put together an 11-start streak of at least five innings pitched and four or fewer earned runs allowed from June 14-Aug. 11, tied for the ninth-longest streak in the NL this season … longest such streak for a Rockie since Kyle Freeland’s 12-game span in 2021.

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