Braves Tap Bryce Elder as Game 3 Starter in NLDS Against Phillies

The Atlanta Braves have made a crucial decision by selecting right-hander Bryce Elder as their starting pitcher for Game 3 against the Philadelphia Phillies, as officially announced by the team.

In a pivotal matchup of the best-of-five NL Division Series, which is currently tied at 1-1, the Braves have opted for Bryce Elder, a first-time All-Star, over rookie AJ Smith-Shawver or initiating with a bullpen opener. On the other side, the Phillies have designated Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.46 ERA) as their starting pitcher.

Braves manager Brian Snitker explained their decision, stating, “I think we just kind of felt like after the way he threw at the intersquad and with the layoff, that he was the guy. He’s been a starter for us all year. It was a big reason why we won the decision. We liked what we saw.”

Elder had a productive season, securing 12 wins, but he appeared to struggle towards the end of the season after reaching a career-high of 174⅔ innings. In the 13 starts following the All-Star break, he had a 5.11 ERA over 68⅔ innings. His last three appearances were particularly challenging, with 13 earned runs, 19 hits, and 8 walks in 12 1/3 innings. Overall, he concluded the season with a record of 12-4, a 3.81 ERA, and 128 strikeouts.

In his most recent appearance against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 22, Elder delivered a stellar performance, allowing only three hits over seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts. However, the Phillies had a different experience facing Elder on September 20 in Atlanta, where they managed to score four runs in 3⅔ innings with five walks.

Despite the recent struggles, Braves pitcher Spencer Strider expressed confidence in Elder, describing him as one of the best and most effective pitchers when in top form. Strider believes that the postseason environment will bring out the best in Elder.

Throughout the season, the Braves have adapted their rotation by utilizing 16 different starting pitchers to cope with long-term injuries to Kyle Wright and Max Fried. Elder, who had been demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett during spring training, proved to be a surprising success after being recalled to Atlanta during the first half of the season.

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