The Braves complete a seven-game homestand with a 12:10 p.m. game against Arizona at SunTrust Park today. Here are five things to know entering the game:
1. Prized pitching prospect Mike Soroka will make his first major-league start since June 19, 2018. With his promotion from Triple-A Gwinnett, the 21-year-old Soroka becomes the youngest pitcher in the National League and the second youngest pitcher in the majors behind only Toronto’s 19-year-old Elvis Luciano.
In five big-league appearances last season, all starts, Soroka allowed 10 earned runs and 30 hits in 25-2/3 innings (3.51 ERA). He missed a total of 4-1/2 months last season with shoulder soreness, which also sidelined him in spring training this year. He has made two starts for Gwinnett this season, throwing five perfect innings on 49 pitches in the first and allowing four earned runs over 4-1/3 innings in the second.
2. Soroka will be the seventh starting pitcher used by the Braves this season, following Julio Teheran, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, Sean Newcomb, Max Fried and Kevin Gausman. An eighth, Touki Toussaint, is scheduled to start Friday at Cleveland. And a ninth, Mike Foltynewicz, will join the list of Braves starters after one more minor-league rehab start if all goes well. Wilson, Wright and Newcomb are now at Gwinnett.
3. The Braves have three veteran relief pitchers (Arodys Vizcaino, Darren O’Day and Jonny Venters) on the injured list, formerly called the disabled list. Vizcaino underwent shoulder surgery Wednesday and is out for the season, compounding longstanding concerns about the Braves’ beleaguered bullpen.
4. The Braves, who have lost the first two games of the series against the Diamondbacks, including Wednesday night’s by a 3-2 score on an error and three walks by reliever Jesse Biddle in the 10th inning, carry a 2-4 record for the homestand into today. They are 9-8 for the season to date.
5. After today’s game, the Braves leave for six games in Ohio — three in Cleveland this weekend and three in Cincinnati next week. The D-backs series marked the start of a stretch in which the Braves play 11 of 12 series (and 36 of 39 games) against teams from outside the NL East.
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