The Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation was trying to settle itself into form coming into May. With Kyle Wright and Max Fried back in the fold after trips to the IL, the stable of Fried, Spencer Strider, Wright, Charlie Morton and Bryce Elder was becoming a formidable one. Then damn…the dam broke. Some wonky New York weather and another injury to Kyle Wright hit, and it left fans pondering the following question multiple times in one week: Is it Michael Soroka time?
The answer was in the negative this week, as the Braves rearranged their pitching plans a bit to send Dylan Dodd out on Thursday, pushing Fried back to pitch today’s game and eliminating the need for Michael Soroka to potentially make his first MLB start since 2020. But looking at the schedules for both Atlanta and the Gwinnett Stripers, a spot for him to make that anticipated re-debut could be opening up soon.
So-Soroka Needs to Become So Good Soroka
First things first, Michael Soroka will likely have to handle some business in Triple A. He’s currently rocking a 4.86 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in Gwinnett, and while numbers aren’t everything in these minor-league starts, Soroka got absolutely shelled in his last outing on Sunday. The Canadian righty lasted just three innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 10 hits. He didn’t walk a batter, but he also only had one strikeout.
On top of that, he’s yet to pitch on regular rest this season. Some will point to the Stripers’ schedule for this, as the team is off every Monday, but if Soroka is the priority that we assume he is for the organization, they could find ways to get him pitching every fifth – or at least sixth – day if they wanted to. Instead, his first three starts of the year came exactly a week apart before he was given 12 days before his last appearance. Simply put, the team needs to see him pitch on regular rest before he can come up for anything more than a spot start.
But with Wright on the IL again and off days FINALLY on the big-league schedule, there’s a pretty clear window for all of that to align without rushing too much.
A Possible Time-table for Michael Soroka
Soroka is expected to start for Gwinnett on Saturday, which would be a six-day gap this time – his shortest of the season. That would line him up – if the Braves wanted – to pitch again on regular rest on May 11. If that went well, because you can do simple math, you know that his next start could be May 16.
Meanwhile, back in Atlanta, the Braves are coming into the final series of a 17-day run of scheduled games. With a pair of off days scheduled next week, they could ride the four-man rotation of Fried, Strider, Elder and Morton until, you guessed it, May 16.
What’s more is that the schedule is also friendly after that. Due to another off day on May 18, a fifth starter wouldn’t have to take the mound again until probably May 23. That would give the team a couple extra days to decide if Soroka’s body is ready for MLB action without having to get another starter up. This would also depend on Wright’s status, but because we just don’t know the details of his injury quite yet, I’m assuming he isn’t available for now.
So this isn’t me saying that I have inside information that Soroka is coming up May 16. Nor is it me saying that I think Soroka will be ready on May 16. But if he’s able to get things going, the schedule has opened up for that much-anticipated return to happen on May 16.
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