Bryce Elder staked his claim to start the All-Star game Thursday afternoon when he matched Aaron Nola pitch for pitch in a game the Braves won in 10 innings, 5-1.

The young Texan was philthy, keeping the Braves in the game while Nola shut out the Atlanta offense thru six innings of work. Elder went seven strong, allowing no runs, three hits, and two walks while striking out six against one of the hottest teams in baseball. He wasn’t involved in the decision, again. Poor kid should be 9-1 by now.

When 2022 NL Cy Young runner-up, Max Fried, went down for the first time and Elder was recalled on April 4, yours truly wrote, “My hope is that Elder will show up in St. Louis and be that annoying little brother, poking and prodding, annoying the life out of the Cardinals by hitting his spots and nibbling on the corners while also missing a bat every now and then…Nobody expects Elder to be a bully, the Braves just need him to grind and not stop being annoying even when he gets smacked around a little bit.” You can read that post here:

There has been some talk of possible regression for Elder, but he has not stopped being annoying! His last two starts have been brilliant and today he frustrated the life out of a lineup that had won 13-of-16 entering the game. My favorite moment was when he struck out Bryson Stott on a spinner at the top of the zone. Stott upper-cutter at the mother, thinking he was gonna launch it into the stands…instead, he did the walk of shame back to the dugout to leadoff the seventh inning.

Philthy defense

The starting pitching was philthy on both sides, but the outfield defense of the home team was disgusting. After playing nine scoreless innings, the top of the 10th got ugly for Philly in a hurry. Sam Hilliard opened the inning as the ghost runner at second. All-Star shortstop-to-be, Orlando Arcia, moved him over to third and Michael Harris II singled Arcia home with the game’s first run. The former rookie of the year swiped second, Ronald Acuna Jr. moved him up to third with a single, and then stole second himself (#32) to create a serious threat with one out. With two outs, Austin Riley hit a line-drive to left, where Kyle Schwarber butchered the play, allowing Harris and Acuna to score, extending the lead to 3-0.

At the time, the only thing philthier than Schwarber’s play was the official-scorers ruling of a two-run single. It has since been correctly scored an error, but the runs count just the same.

But it got worse for the Phils. Marcell OHzuna followed with a 406-foot blast into left-center, capping the scoring for Atlanta, but he also the Philthy announcing team to lose their minds with his slow, summer stroll around the bases. While I’d prefer he trotted as if he’d homered before, this call is pretty funny.

Nick Anderson worked a decent 10th inning, only allowing the ghost runner to score, and the win streak is now stands at eight. The Braves are six games ahead of Miami, 10 games up on the Phils, and 14 games up on the Mets, who just keep metting! (I don’t know that they did anything today, but did you see Pete Alonso’s baseline interference yesterday? HAHAHA Sheesh!)

The Braves are now 15-2 in their past 17 and head to Cincinnati, where the Reds are claiming our title as “America’s Team,” having won 11 straight. Atlanta will send 20 year-old phenom, AJ Smith-Shover (1-0, 2.03, 0.98 WHIP) to the mound against Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.47, 1.54 WHIP)

All-Star voting update

Acuna Jr. is the leading vote-getter after Phase 1 voting wrapped up today, earning a starting spot in the NL outfield. Teammates Arcia and Sean Murphy were the top vote-getters at their positions, while Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Riley, and Harris II also advanced to Phase 2 balloting

The NL coaching staff had also best respect their Elder. Young Bryce should join Spencer Strider on the team, as well. His 2.40 ERA is second in the league and he is still 5-1 on the season with a 1.11 WHIP.