Braves recall Bryce Elder, who provides length and spot-start option

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The Braves recalled right-hander Bryce Elder ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Nationals. They optioned righty William Woods to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Elder, 23, last pitched for the Braves on Sept. 3, tossing six scoreless innings against the Marlins. He owns a 3.67 ERA over seven games (six starts) this season. In this instance, Elder provides the Braves another reliever capable of covering multiple innings.

ExploreBiden to host World Series champion Atlanta Braves at White House

“He’s not going to miss much (in Triple-A) by coming up here right now,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s had a full year, and he’s been consistent. So I don’t have any problem with him coming up and coming out of the bullpen because their season is almost over anyway.”

Snitker added Elder could make a spot start “if we decide to go that route. … He’d be a good option if we decide to do something like that.”

In Elder’s last two major-league starts, both against Miami, he had a 0.69 ERA with a 16:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 13 innings. If he continues building off those appearances, he should earn a larger role on next year’s Braves.

Woods was promoted as a fresh arm when Kirby Yates (elbow inflammation) was placed on the injured list. Woods has pitched two scoreless major-league innings this season.

The Braves have 16 games remaining, including Monday’s contest. They entered the day one game behind the Mets in the National League East.

Tyler Matzek finding form

Tyler Matzek has struck out five in his last 2 ⅓ innings. Matzek owns a 1.46 ERA over his last 13 appearances, 11 of which were scoreless. Opponents are hitting .182 against him over that span.

“He’s starting to throw the ball pretty well,” Snitker said. “Things are going in the right direction for him. His velocity ticked up; his breaking ball has been getting better. So it was very encouraging. … It’s nice seeing him headed in that direction this time of year. We showed last year that bullpen depth is huge. They’re different games in the postseason.”

Kyle Wright’s wins

Starter Kyle Wright entered Monday’s outing seeking his 19th win. He’s trying to become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003. It’s been quite the season for Wright, who entered the season a gigantic question mark but has cemented himself as a long-term part of the rotation. Wright has a 3.18 ERA across 27 starts.

Magic number for postseason

The Braves’ pursuit of another division title will come down to the wire; securing a postseason spot likely won’t, though. The Braves’ magic number was four entering Monday. Any combination of four Braves’ wins and four Brewers’ losses would ensure the Braves’ playoff berth. The Brewers are the only team outside the current playoff field that’s mathematically capable of catching the Braves.

When the Braves clinch, they’ll make their fifth consecutive trip to the postseason. They’re on pace for 101 wins, which would be their highest total since winning 101 in 2003. Their highest win total during their latest string of division titles is 97 (2019).