MLB: Braves’ Spencer Schwellenbach to make debut vs. Nationals

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The Atlanta Braves have recalled one of their top prospects from Double-A to open the third contest of their four-game home series against the Washington Nationals.

The teams have split the first two games, with Washington posting an 8-4 victory on Monday and the Braves winning 2-0 on Tuesday.

Atlanta right-hander Spencer Schwellenbach will make his major league debut Wednesday night. He will be opposed by Washington left-hander MacKenzie Gore (3-4, 3.04 ERA).

Schwellenbach, 23, was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2021, out of Nebraska, and had Tommy John surgery immediately after the draft. He began the season in High Class A Rome and was promoted to Double-A Mississippi two weeks ago.

In eight minor league starts this season, Schwellenbach was 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He struck out 51 in 45 innings and did not allow a run in 13 innings with Mississippi.

Atlanta has had trouble finding a suitable replacement for Spencer Strider, who made two starts before injuring his right arm and undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Braves tried Bryce Elder (five starts), Darius Vines (two) and Ray Kerr, A.J. Smith-Shawver and Allan Winans (one start apiece) as a replacement with little success.

Smith-Shawver pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his opportunity last week but left with a strained left oblique and wound up on the 15-day injured list.

Atlanta’s Max Fried, who pitched eight scoreless innings on Tuesday, had a chance to meet Schwellenbach before the game.

“I didn’t have much time to talk to him, but it’s a special day for him,” Fried said. “He’s worked really hard to get here, and a lot of people think he’s talented enough to be here and contribute. I’d just say to trust yourself and go get them.”

Gore has become a mainstay for the Nationals. He will make his 11th start of the season and is coming off a win over Seattle on Friday. Gore pitched seven innings and limited the Mariners to one run on four hits, one walk and had eight strikeouts. He leads the Nationals with 62 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings.

Gore allowed a leadoff homer against Seattle but was almost untouchable the rest of the game.

“You hope that it is (a long outing); you hope that things don’t blow up,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “But as he got to that fourth inning and I’m watching his pitch count, I’m watching what he’s doing, I thought then that he can go deep in this game, which would be great. And he did. Going seven innings is really good, especially for our bullpen. We’ve got a lot of games coming up, so we’re going to need our starting pitchers to go a little deeper in games.”

Gore will face the Braves for the fourth time in his career. He is 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA and has limited Atlanta hitters to a .189 batting average. Gore faced the Braves twice last year, going 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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