Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Young lefties clash as Nats try to end Braves' streak

Field Level Media
10 Jun 2023, 21:19 GMT+10

The Atlanta Braves will use another of their young pitchers on Saturday when they host the Washington Nationals and try to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Atlanta will start rookie Jared Shuster (2-2, 4.99 ERA) against Washington's MacKenzie Gore (3-4, 3.66) in a battle of left-handers.

The Braves won the opening game of the three-games series 3-2 on Friday by scoring twice in the eighth inning. It was their fifth straight come-from-behind victory. The Nationals took their fifth loss in a row.

Shuster, 24, will follow 20-year-old Braves rookie AJ Smith-Shawver, who pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, both unearned, in his first major league start on Friday.

Shuster made his major league debut against the Nationals on April 2 and took the loss after allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings. Shuster made one more start before being sent to Triple-A Gwinnett. He was summoned back to Atlanta in mid-May and was reinserted in the rotation.

Since being recalled, Shuster has made four starts, going 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA. In his latest start, a May 31 win at Oakland, he allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings.

"I think I'm just throwing a lot more strikes," Shuster said. "A couple more walks (against the A's), but other than that I got some weak contact, pretty efficient. I think since I've been up, I'm just trusting myself more and being more in sync with my deliveries. It helped a lot."

For Washington, Gore, 24, was a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Padres in 2017 but was shipped to the Nationals as a key piece in the Juan Soto trade last August.

Gore has been a cornerstone of the Washington rotation this season, though he is winless in his past seven starts.

In his most recent outing, last Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies, Gore pitched six innings and allowed three runs on nine hits and no walks with six strikeouts. His best start came at Kansas City on May 28, when he threw seven innings, his longest outing of the season, and allowed only one run on three hits and one walk while logging a career-high 11 strikeouts.

"Just aggressive," Gore said. "I want to be the best version of myself. I like executing pitches and doing what I'm supposed to do. Just being aggressive and going at guys, and we're doing an OK job with that. Just have been throwing some bad pitches that have been homers or just hits that really cost me the last however-it's-been."

Gore has made two career starts against the Braves, going 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA. He beat them on April 2 when he gave up one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out six.

Gore will attempt to slow Atlanta's Orlando Arcia, who continues to provide key hits. The second baseman drove in two runs on Friday, including what proved to be the game-winner in the eighth.

On the current homestand, Arcia is batting .500 (8-for-16) with a double, a home run and six RBIs, raising his batting average to .324.

--Field Level Media

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