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Apr 4, 2024 7:09 pm

Spencer Strider takes bump for Braves’ home opener vs. D-backs

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Atlanta will send ace Spencer Strider to the mound to face the reigning National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks when the Braves hold their home opener on Friday.

Strider (0-0, 3.60 ERA) will be matched against Arizona lefty Tommy Henry (0-1, 11.25) to begin a three-game set.

Strider did not receive a decision on Opening Day against Philadelphia. He pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, eight strikeouts and two walks as the Braves won 9-3 last Friday.

The right-hander is pitching on extra rest after his scheduled start on Wednesday at the Chicago White Sox was rained out. It’s another chance to show off the sharp curveball he added to his repertoire in the offseason. He used it in the spring and struck out 35 in 22 2/3 innings.

“It was just adding a tool to my toolbox in a way,” Strider said. “If I was able to, I would go out and learn every pitch that’s ever been conceived of and have at my disposal. But I can’t do that. This is something that fits my strengths and my capabilities, so it made sense to try to incorporate it.”

Strider is 1-1 with a 4.96 in three career starts against Arizona, striking out 27 in 16 1/3 innings. He was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Diamondbacks last season with 20 strikeouts in 12 innings.

Henry was knocked out of his first start against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday after four innings. He allowed five runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts and was lifted after allowing three straight baserunners to start the fifth.

“We didn’t pitch the ball that well (Saturday), that’s what it comes down to,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “When you get good pitching, it makes the game flow. It wasn’t flowing the way it has been the past couple of days.”

Henry is trying to come back after suffering left elbow inflammation that ended his season on July 28, 2023. Henry pitched 23 innings in the spring and posted a 5.09 ERA with 16 strikeouts.

Henry has never faced the Braves.

Both teams are among the top offensive squads in the league.

The Braves have 17 doubles and eight home runs. They lead the National League with a .298 team batting average and an .890 OPS. Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies (.350, two homers, seven RBIs), shortstop Orlando Arcia (.450, four doubles) and center fielder Michael Harris II (.368, one homer) are leading the offense.

Arizona ranks No. 3 in the league with a .290 batting average and an .843 OPS. The Diamondbacks have 10 home runs.

Left fielder Lourdes Guriel is hitting .267 with three homers and 10 RBIs, tied for second in the league. He became the first player in franchise history to homer in the first three games of a season.

The Diamondbacks may be without shortstop Geraldo Perdomo. He injured his right knee while rounding third base in the bottom of the 10th inning of Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the New York Yankees in 11 innings. He is listed as day-to-day.

“He’s not sure what happened,” Lovullo said. “He just felt a lot of discomfort in his knee.”

–Field Level Media

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