Braves open homestand with rookie Tucker Davidson making another start

Braves manager Brian Snitker praises pitcher Tucker Davidson after he allowed four hits and struck out four over six scoreless innings in 2-1 loss to Phillies.

The Braves will open a six-game homestand Tuesday night with one of their more intriguing pitchers of late — rookie left-hander Tucker Davidson — scheduled to be on the mound against the Boston Red Sox.

Davidson has impressed in each of his three previous starts for the Braves this season, as evidenced by his 1.53 ERA, although he hasn’t gotten a win (or a loss) in any of them. In two starts this month, he has allowed no runs and five hits across 11-2/3 innings.

Tucker Davidson stats

“Tucker has been really good to watch,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s come in and made unbelievable strides the last year and taken advantage of this opportunity.”

Davidson’s next test will be a Boston offense that ranks fifth in the major leagues in runs, fourth in team batting average and third in slugging percentage. The Red Sox are 12 games over .500 at 39-27 (entering a game Monday night against Toronto) and in second place in the American League East.

The Braves’ two-game series against Boston will conclude Wednesday night, followed by a four-game series against St. Louis at Truist Park. The Braves split two games with the Red Sox in Boston last month and haven’t played the Cardinals since a 2019 National League Division Series, which St. Louis won in five games.

Davidson, 25, has taken the place of the injured Huascar Ynoa in the Braves’ rotation, at least for now. Davidson made his first start of the season May 18, two days after Ynoa broke his right hand by punching the dugout bench after a poor outing, and held the New York Mets to three runs on five hits in six innings. The Braves returned Davidson to Triple-A Gwinnett after that game, but he has stuck around since they recalled him early this month.

He allowed just one hit in 5-2/3 scoreless innings against the Washington Nationals on June 3 and four hits in six scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 9. He walked five against the Nationals, but only one in each of his other two starts this season.

Davidson, who had appeared in one big-league game before this year, has said he feels “a little more comfortable” with each start. He credits an improved slider for some of his recent progress.

“I definitely am happy with it,” Davidson said of last week’s start at Philadelphia, “and am ready to go on to the next one.”

Snitker said “there’s a lot to like” in Davidson’s work — “the tempo, the strikes, the quality of pitches, everything ... how he attacks hitters, works quick.”

The Braves will start rookie pitchers in both games against Boston, with Ian Anderson (4-3, 3.26 ERA) scheduled for Wednesday. Anderson maintains rookie status because he didn’t reach the eligibility cut-off last year.

Davidson and Anderson also started back-to-back games last week. The day after Davidson’s six scoreless innings against the Phillies, Anderson pitched seven scoreless innings. Alas, the Braves wound up losing both games.

Both pitchers were drafted by the Braves in 2016 — Anderson in the first round and Davidson in the 19th round.

“It’s good to see two young guys that you bring up through your organization doing good,” Snitker said. “I mean, that’s a really good thing for us going forward.”

Braves notes

- Boston’s scheduled starting pitchers against the Braves are left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 6.03 ERA) on Tuesday night and right-hander Garrett Richards (4-4, 4.09) on Wednesday night.

- Tuesday starts a stretch of 14 games in 13 days for the Braves, including four games in three days against the Mets in New York next week.

- The Braves are 2-8 against American League teams this season: 1-1 against the Red Sox, 1-1 against the New York Yankees and 0-6 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

- Entering the homestand, the Braves have a .500 record (17-17) at Truist Park this season. They are 13-16 on the road.