The Braves continued to ride the kids. Yes, Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr. continue to prosper on the field. But this time, it was right-hander Mike Soroka, who turned in a gem of a start in his Major League debut for Atlanta, pitching six sharp innings to help the Braves top the Mets, 3-2, at Citi Field on May 1.
At this point in the season, the Braves have won five out of their last six games and improved their record to 17-11. They are only a half-game behind the first-place Mets in the National League East.
Before the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker and catcher Kurt Suzuki talked about how polished Soroka, 20, looked on the mound. The Mets don’t disagree, as the Braves’ No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline held New York to six hits and struck out five batters.
“It’s not like it shocked me,” Snitker said about Soroka’s performance. “I saw him in Spring Training and he is a very poised, mature [pitcher]. I watched the game the other day on the computer when he went seven innings [in a Minor League game]. He looked like he relaxed out there doing his thing.
New York only touched Soroka in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo homer over the left-field wall.
“He threw a lot of strikes. Anytime you keep the count in your favor, you’re going to pitch good,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “At one point, he threw 27 strikes in 35 pitches. If you do that, you’re going to have success.”
Soroka said he stopped being nervous once he was able to get an at-bat in the top of the first inning before he even took the mound. It was smooth sailing after that.
“I got the jitters out of the way. It kind felt like another inning after that. I executed pitch one and went from there,” Soroka said. “It’s truly amazing to be with this team. They have been a really fun team to watch for the last month.”
Soroka wasn’t the only young buck on the Braves who shined on Tuesday. The two A’s — Albies and Acuna — helped the Braves get to an early 3-0 lead off right-hander Noah Syndergaard in the top of the first inning.