Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

As Soroka soars, Braves mindful of workload

GM Anthopoulos to 'play it by ear' with rising ace
@cdenicola13
August 11, 2019

MIAMI -- Lost in the shuffle of Saturday night's bullpen collapse was another dominant start from Braves right-hander Mike Soroka. Soroka went seven innings on 82 pitches before being pulled for a pinch-hitter with one out in the eighth. Though Matt Joyce would strike out, Atlanta would go on to

MIAMI -- Lost in the shuffle of Saturday night's bullpen collapse was another dominant start from Braves right-hander Mike Soroka.

Soroka went seven innings on 82 pitches before being pulled for a pinch-hitter with one out in the eighth. Though Matt Joyce would strike out, Atlanta would go on to break a scoreless deadlock with three two-out runs in a 7-6 walk-off loss to the Marlins.

The All-Star rookie, who has gone at least seven innings in three consecutive starts for the first time in his career, understood the decision to take him out in order to try and score runs to win the game.

"He went far enough," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the decision. "Talking about innings for a young pitcher and getting through a year, and if he goes seven innings, he's done his job. We have to be able to cover two innings this time of year [with] what we're doing. It's going to be a rare occasion when he's going more than seven innings."

It's a topic Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos addressed prior to Thursday's series opener when asked about how strong Soroka and Max Fried have looked into August.

The 22-year-old Soroka threw just 56 1/3 combined innings between the Minors and the Majors last season because of a right shoulder strain and inflammation.

"I almost don't want to talk about it because you don't want to jinx them," Anthopoulos said. "I don't look at it as encouraging. I've said this before, as a young GM, I was pretty militant with innings and things like that, and it didn't work. Even when I was in L.A., and obviously there's as good an organization as you can find, [I was] very cautious with Julio Urias and he still got hurt. You can go through a lot of examples. I think we are very much on top of it.

"We've talked to the both of them about being open and communicating with us. I think Snit's done a good job, and he's been able to save some bullets. We don't skip our fifth starter. Even when they have scuffled, we take advantage of the off-days, and we watch them day to day, start to start. ... I could tell you last September, Soroka was dying to come back. He was throwing in [the instructional league], he was ready to go. You could ask him. He wanted to be activated. He was ready to go. For his career, as much as we could've used him in the playoffs, it wasn't the right thing for him. We're going to put their careers first. If we think the appropriate thing is to scale back or to shut them down, we'll do it. But as we sit here today, we haven't made arrangements to do that. We're just going to play it by ear."

Melancon's dustup
Saturday marked the second consecutive outing umpires talked to reliever Mark Melancon about covering the pitching rubber with clay upon the Marlins' insistence.

Melancon allowed four straight one-out singles before Shane Greene permitted another two hits in the game-tying ninth inning.

"I'm not hiding anything, it's just what I do," Melancon said. "They can enjoy trying to get all over me, but that has zero effect."

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.