WASHINGTON — The Braves began Monday with a White House visit to celebrate their 2021 World Series and ended it with Bryce Elder – who was in the crowd but not on the stage because he was not a member of last year’s team – pitching his first career shutout in an 8-0 win over the Nationals.

ExploreBraves celebrate World Series with White House visit and ‘plan to be back’

Here are five observations on Atlanta (96-58):

1. From back in Texas, Elder’s family watched what turned out to be a special and memorable night for one of their own. And when Bryce completed eight innings, they wondered if he would have an opportunity to finish what he started.

“We knew he had it by the look on his face for the last three batters,” Jeff and Kasi Elder, Bryce’s parents, said in a text Monday night. “He was so locked in and focused.”

Elder is the first Braves rookie to throw a shutout since Paul Marak in 1990. He is the first Braves pitcher to hurl a shutout since Max Fried did it last season.

On Monday, Elder needed only 106 pitches to complete nine innings. He struck out six batters, walked one and allowed six hits.

As Elder sat in the dugout in the top of the ninth inning, he did not focus on the opportunity for a special moment. Instead, his mindset remained the same as it had in the hours before that.

“I was just trying to get another out, just like I did the first out of the game,” Elder said. “Realistically, you try to get 27 outs as fast as we can, and that’s what I was trying to do. I wasn’t trying to treat it like any different out. Just make one good pitch at a time and roll with it that way.”

His family, on the other hand, was not as composed after the incredible feat.

“We are beaming and pretty emotional,” his parents said.

2. Elder threw 60 sinkers Monday. He felt he commanded the pitch well. He said his slider, which he threw 20 times, was “just OK, but it was just good enough to get them off the sinker to go right back to it.” He commanded both sides of the plate.

“I want to go back and watch that because that sinker must’ve been just something else, the way they were taking it and couldn’t really do anything with it,” manager Brian Snitker said.

“That was an amazing start,” said Matt Olson, who caught the throw to first base for the final out.

Elder’s stuff isn’t overpowering. His sinker averaged 89.9 mph. But he pitches to his strengths.

On Monday, Jeff and Kasi Elder hoped their son would go six innings and help the team. At one point, Jeff noticed Bryce had a low pitch count, with his stuff working. Eventually, their son went the distance.

“What a special moment to watch him walk off that mound!” Jeff and Kasi Elder said.

3. Over four spot starts in the second half of the season, Elder has allowed only two runs over 27 ⅔ innings. The Braves optioned him after a stint with the team in April, and he returned better than before.

“He’s just done everything we’ve asked and more,” Snitker said. “It’s just been really, really good, and we’re going to need him again before the year is over.”

In Triple-A, Elder altered his mindset.

“All I can do is all I can do,” Elder said. “By (trying to make perfect pitches), it’s not going to happen. Just throw my pitches in the spots that I want to throw it and trust my stuff. If you get beat that day, you get beat that day. But most of the time, if you execute pitches and make good pitches, I like my chances.”

4. Olson, who arrived in Washington batting .117 this month, dented the right-field foul pole with a two-run home run in the fourth inning. It marked his first homer since Sept. 6, and he later lifted a sacrifice fly to score another run.

He had five RBIs in 22 games in September before driving in three runs Monday.

5. Behind Elder, the Braves played terrific defense.

“It’s pretty easy when you throw a sinker down the middle and let those guys work,” Elder said. “Obviously, they’re very talented, they’re very good, they put in a lot of work. I can’t thank them enough.”

Braves 8, Nationals 0 (box score)

Stat to know

3 – Elder joined the Angels’ Reid Detmers and the Reds’ Hunter Greene as the only rookies to throw a shutout this season.

Quotable

“Yeah, I have thought about it, but at the same time, all I can do is all I can do. I can’t control that. So just going out and trying to be good and be on top of my stuff and make good pitches every time out, I think that’s really all I can do to control that, so that’s what I’m trying to do.” – Elder, on if he has thought about making the postseason roster

Up next

On Tuesday, the Braves will start lefty Kyle Muller in a game that begins at 7:05 p.m. He posted a 3.41 ERA over 23 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett and has made two spot starts with the Braves.