ARLINGTON, Texas – Down two starters, the Braves have rotation openings, which makes this coming stretch a terrific opportunity for their depth starters.

One of them is Jared Shuster, who got the ball Tuesday. He pitched well, but the Braves lost to the Rangers 7-4 at Globe Life Field.

Five observations on the loss:

1. Braves manager Brian Snitker put it like this in an answer about Shuster: “If you told me we were gonna get five innings out of him, I’d have said that’d have been great.”

The Braves didn’t ask for a gem. They simply wanted Shuster to keep them in the game.

And he did.

The Rangers got to him in one inning, but he completed five frames. He allowed three runs in them. He had three strikeouts and two walks.

Shuster said he felt more comfortable in his second stint in the majors.

“Just felt my stuff was better, and having the past two starts as experience helped me out there and helped me make adjustments when I needed to,” he said. “Not just go out there and let things get away – just keep executing.”

We’ll see if Shuster made enough of a case to make his next start for the Braves. After Thursday, their next off day isn’t until June 1, which means it’ll be difficult to execute bullpen games.

Shuster only gave up three hits, but they came in succession. And because the Braves’ offense didn’t break through like it did on Monday, those runs put Atlanta in a hole.

“Just the strikes, I think,” Snitker said of the improvements he saw from Shuster this time. “Second time around there, they kind of got him there real quick. But he kept pitching. He kept pitching and was all right.”

2. On Monday, the Braves hit five two-run homers, which tied a MLB record.

On Tuesday, the Rangers kept the Braves in check, for the most part.

It began with Dane Dunning, who took the rotation spot of injured ace Jacob deGrom. Dunning, who has mostly pitched out of the bullpen this year, held the Braves to a run over six innings as he lowered his ERA to 1.69.

“He was just locating really well,” said Sean Murphy, who first saw Dunning when the two shared a division. “That’s what he does. He doesn’t have amazing velocity, but he locates and throws that backdoor two-seamer and cutter up that keeps you guessing, and he doesn’t give in.”

Dunning’s fastball averaged 92 mph. He also threw his cutter, change-up, slider and curveball.

The Braves collected six hits off him, but couldn’t string much together. In the second inning, they scored on Orlando Arcia’s RBI single.

They didn’t score again until the eighth.

“He just mixes everything up,” Snitker said of Dunning.

3. Shuster didn’t allow a hit over his first three innings.

The fourth began like this: Single, run-scoring double, two-run homer.

Just like that, the Rangers took the lead. Shuster looked like he might be in trouble.


He recovered. He never allowed another hit.

“I thought he was in a good headspace, attacking guys,” Murphy said. “He had a plan of what he wanted to do. He didn’t look at all fazed by even some of the bad results.”

Shuster said he worked on mechanical adjustments in Triple-A. Those, combined with his mindset, helped him feel more comfortable.

“When mechanics are in sync, it’s a little easier to execute pitches,” Shuster said. “Definitely slowing things down. If I fall behind in a count, just keep making pitches.”

Shuster didn’t spin a gem, but he did what the Braves asked of him.

“It was good to get him back up here and get him involved,” Snitker said. “He’s gonna get it. He’s gonna figure it out. That was all right. He kept us in the game.”

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Dylan Lee stands on the mound looking at the ball as he works against the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

4. In relief of Shuster, Dylan Lee struggled.

He allowed three runs – two earned – on six hits over 1 1/3 innings. For context: In 73 games since debuting in 2021, including the postseason, Lee had never surrendered more than three hits.

The Braves trailed by five runs after seven innings.

In the eighth, they punched back.

Ronald Acuña Jr. launched a 455-foot homer. Two batters later, Murphy blasted a two-run shot. They trimmed the lead to two runs.

In the bottom of the eighth, Joe Jiménez served up a home run.

Will Smith, the former Braves reliever, earned the save with a perfect ninth.

5. These teams will play for the series on Wednesday.

The Braves will send Spencer Strider to the mound. They always feel good when he’s out there.

But Atlanta’s offense will have a formidable opponent: Nathan Eovaldi has a scoreless streak of 28 2/3 innings, the longest in the majors this season.

Stat to know

9 - Murphy’s nine home runs at Globe Life Field are the most by any visiting player in the regular season in the facility’s four-year history.


“I think it could. Absolutely. It’s improvement. He went back down and had consistent work, and usually when they do that and they come back, you see progress and growth in them.” - Snitker when asked if this outing could be a confidence booster for Shuster

Up next

Wednesday’s series finale will begin at 8:05 p.m. ET.