Strider to undergo MRI after abbreviated 4-inning outing

Braves starter exits home opener, informs medical staff of right elbow discomfort

April 6th, 2024

ATLANTA -- Those who were concerned with what they saw from on Friday night weren’t relieved by what they heard after the game.

Braves manager Brian Snitker revealed Strider will undergo an MRI exam on Saturday morning. Strider informed the team’s medical staff of right elbow discomfort after he labored through four innings of Atlanta’s 6-5, 10-inning win over the D-backs.

“I thought it was just one of those nights,” Snitker said. “Then he came in and was complaining about his elbow.”

Snitker and Matt Olson were among the Braves who had no idea Strider was ailing until after the game. But it was obvious the electric hurler wasn’t himself as he pitched in front of a sold-out crowd that gathered for Atlanta’s home opener.

Strider allowed five runs and seven hits over just four innings. He struck out four and walked three. This was the eighth time in 54 starts he has completed four innings or fewer. But it was just the sixth time he didn’t tally at least five strikeouts as a starter.

Strider established himself as the game’s top strikeout artist while tallying an MLB-best 483 strikeouts over the past two years. His 37.3 percent strikeout rate as a starting pitcher from 2022-23 (minimum 200 innings) was easily better than the one produced by Shohei Ohtani, who ranked second with a 32.4 percent rate.

Missing bats is Strider’s forte. So, after enjoying a dominant Spring Training and an efficient Opening Day start in Philadelphia, there was reason to notice the Braves hurler induced just 12 whiffs during his 88-pitch outing. This is the sixth-lowest total he has induced while throwing at least 80 pitches.

The D-backs whiffed with just four of 27 swings against Strider’s fastball, which wasn’t as lively as normal. Opponents whiffed with 28.7% of swings against his fastball last year.

Strider’s fastball averaged 95.9 mph on Friday. This pitch averaged 96.7 mph during last week’s season debut against the Phillies and 97.2 mph over the 2023 season.

Even if the MRI exam provides encouraging news, there’s seemingly a good chance the Braves would choose to rest Strider for at least a couple of weeks.

The Braves have multiple options to choose from if they need to promote someone from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Strider’s rotation spot. Dylan Dodd would be on regular rest if the Braves choose to have him fill Strider’s spot against the Mets on Wednesday.