Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Sports Gaming Monitor

MLB Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers (29-19) at Atlanta Braves (29-17)




  • Arkansas native made his Major League debut on May 3 against the Phillies, tossing four innings and giving up eight hits, five runs (four earned) and two walks while striking out one
  • Owns a 2-2 record across eight starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City with a 4.04 ERA (16 ER/35.2 IP) with 41 strikeouts and just 19 issued walks…has limited the opposition to a .200/.302/.338 slashline
  • Has registered a 10.35 strikeout-per-nine innings mark
  • Was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training…went 1-0 in four appearances with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/6.2 IP) with 14 strikeouts against only five hits and two walks, pitching against Texas (Mar. 1), San Diego (Mar. 6), Cleveland (Mar. 13) and Oakland (Mar. 19)…recorded eight strikeouts in three innings against the Athletics


  • Will face Atlanta for the first time in his career


TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Dodgers tonight open a three-game series in what is the first of seven scheduled meetings between the clubs this season…Atlanta will travel to Los Angeles, August 31 to September 3, for a four-game set at Dodger Stadium.

  • The Braves and Dodgers played six times last season, with Atlanta going 2-4 in these games… Los Angeles won two-of-three at both Dodger Stadium and here at Truist Park.
  • Atlanta has not won the season set against Los Angeles since 2013, when it went 5-2 over seven games…Since the 2014 season, the Braves are just 16-35 (.314) in 51 regular season games versus the Dodgers, and have been outscored 240-168 (-72).
  • The Braves and Dodgers have played 16 total games here at Truist Park since the facility opened in 2017, with Atlanta going 7-9 (.438) against Los Angeles in that span…The Braves won two-of-three here in 2019 and 2021, while the Dodgers won two-of-three last season…Neither club has ever swept the other here.
  • RH Charlie Morton has made just five career starts against Los Angeles, his fewest against any N.L. team that he has never played for…He is 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA (15 ER/27.1 IP) in these games, including allowing four runs in 5.1 innings in his only such start last season…The 6-foot-5, 235-pound right-hander has made eight starts for Atlanta this season, going 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA (15 ER/47.1 IP) and 49 strikeouts.
  • RH Gavin Stone is set tonight to make the second start of his major league career, and has never faced Atlanta…He allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned) over 4.0 innings in his major league debut, May 3 vs. Philadelphia…The 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Lake City, AR, is rated as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect and as the No. 44 prospect in baseball, and is 2-2 with a 4.04 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.

WIN: Atlanta beat Seattle, 3-2, yesterday afternoon to win the rubber match and take the series, two-games-to-one…LH Jared Shuster started for the Braves and earned the first win of his major league career.

  • The win clinched the first series victory for Atlanta over Seattle since 2011.
  • Shuster went 6.0 innings and allowed just one hit in the win, and became the fifth Braves pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) to pitch at least 6.0 innings and allow no more than one hit within their first four major league appearances…He joined Ian Anderson (twice in 2020), Michael Soroka (2018), Randall Delgado (2011) and Steve Shields (1985).
  • The Braves improved to 10-10 in interleague play with the win, and completed a stretch of 14 consecutive games against the American League… Atlanta has not played an N.L. team since Miami from May 2-4, and has faced Baltimore, Boston, Toronto, Texas and Seattle since.

FIRST INNING: The Braves plated another run in the first inning yesterday, and Atlanta has scored at least one first-inning run in 20 games this season, including six of their last eight home games and each of the last three.

  • The Braves’ 37 first-inning runs are one shy of the Dodgers and Rays for the major league lead.
  • Atlanta owns the best record in the National League in games in which its scores in the first inning, going 16-4 (.800)…Only Minnesota (12-0, 1.000) and Detroit (11-2, .846) have been better in baseball.
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. singled on the sixth pitch of the first inning and Matt Olson doubled him home one pitch later, and Atlanta led Seattle, 1-0, seven pitches into the first inning yesterday.
  • The Braves have scored 18 runs this season within the first 10 pitches of the game, most in the majors… Atlanta also leads the league in average (.429), on-base (.454), slugging (.835), OPS (1.289), hits (39) and home runs (9) in that span.
  • Atlanta is on pace to score 130 first-inning runs this season…The Braves have scored 100 first-inning runs just five times since 2000, including 121 in 2003.

AUSTIN RILEY: Went 1-for-4 yesterday against Seattle, and enters tonight with 499 hits in his major league career…He also has 298 career RBI, and collected the 100th home run of his career earlier this season.

  • Riley needs one hit and two RBI to have 500 hits, 100 homers and 300 RBI for his career, and tonight plays his 497th major league game.
  • Per the Elias Sports Bureau, just three players in franchise history have reached 500/100/300 in fewer games than Riley…Fred McGriff did so in 412 games after making his Braves debut, Bob Horner needed 429, and Hall-of-Famer Eddie Mathews did it in 456 games.
  • Since his debut on May 15, 2019, just 11 players in the majors have 500 hits, 100 homers and 300 RBI, including teammate Matt Olson (506 hits, 134 homers, 380 RBI).

ONE-RUN GAMES: Atlanta beat Seattle by a single run, 3-2, yesterday, and the Braves are 10-4 (.714) in one-run games this season, including wins in each of their last two such games.

  • The Braves beat the Rangers, 6-5, last Wednesday.
  • Atlanta’s 10 one-run wins are third most in the majors behind just the Marlins (15) and Mets (11), and the Braves’ record (10-4, .714) trails just the Marlins (15-2, .882) and Brewers (8-3, .727) for the best mark in baseball.

CAREER STARTS: Charlie Morton tonight makes the 331st start of his major league career, while Gavin Stone pitches for just the second time in the majors.

  • At the time of Morton’s first career start, June 14, 2008, Stone was nine years, seven months and 29 days

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #50 Charlie Morton
RHP • 6-5 • 235 • 39 yrs
2023 Record: 5-3, 2.85 ERA • 2022 Record: 9-6, 4.34 ERA
vs. RHB: .245 (23-94), 1 HR • vs. LHB: .270 (24-89), 3 HR
Home: 2-1, 2.50 ERA (5/18.0) • Away: 3-2, 3.07 ERA (20/29.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his ninth start of the season and first against Los Angeles (NL).
  • Scattered seven hits over 6.2 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts at Texas during his last start, earning his fifth win of the season.
  • Has now struckout at least 10 hitters in six games since turning 38, passing Hall-of-Famer Cy Young for the ninth most such games dating to 1901.
  • Morton is the first player with at least six games of 10 or more strikeouts since Hall-of-Famers Randy Johnson and John Smoltz.
  • His five wins are tied for the fourth most in the National League.
  • Morton has struck out 306 hitters with his curveball since the beginning of the 2020; the most in the majors.
  • During that span hitters are missing on 52.7% of curveballs thrown, the second highest rate in the majors…The MLB average is 12.0% (among QS).
  • Over the last two seasons he has thrown his curve on 39.6% of pitches, also the most in baseball.
  • Utilizing his curveball on 45.9% of pitches thrown this season.
  • Morton’s 953 strikeouts since the 2018 season are the fourth most in baseball.
  • Prior to the 2018 season, Morton threw his curveball on 21.3% of pitches throughout his career.
  • Since the beginning of 2018 he has thrown his curve on 36.0% of pitches.
  • Enters play with only 18% of balls put in play against him registering as line drives this season.
  • Tied for the third lowest mark in the majors.
  • Hitters are registering a .326 batting average on balls in play against Morton in ’23.
  • The MLB BABIP this season is .296 for qualified starters.
  • Batters are hitting 36.3% of balls 95 mph or higher against Morton while the MLB average for qualified starters is 38.8%.
  • In his age 39 season, Morton is the sixth-oldest active pitcher in the majors.

2023 Recap

  • Made his first start of the season against St. Louis.
  • Only struck out one hitter through 5.1 innings pitched against the Cardinals, marking just the ninth time in his career Morton pitched at least 5.0 frames while failing to record at least two punchouts and the first since June 5, 2015 against Pittsburgh.
  • Struck out San Diego’s Jake Croneworth on April 8 to record his 1,700th career punchout.
  • Is one of 16 active pitchers in baseball with as many strikeouts.
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