The Atlanta Braves are in the thick of a critical series against the division rival New York Mets. As it stands, the Braves are 4.5 games behind in the NL East, making each of these three remaining games incredibly important in this race.
The Braves have announced who will be pitching in two of the next three, but there's a looming question as to who will face Jacob deGrom in the finale on Thursday. Grant McAuley joined the Midday Show to discuss who could fulfill that role for Atlanta.
Spencer Strider pitched in the first game of the series, and Charlie Morton and Jake Odorizzi are scheduled to pitch in games two and three. One would hope that one of the two aces on the staff would be available for the final game, but both Max Fried (concussion) and Kyle Wright (arm fatigue) have been dealing with issues, leaving Thursday's game in doubt.
A potential solution arrived on Tuesday morning as news broke that the Braves added Freddy Tarnok to the roster from the farm system. The thought is that he will be a depth piece, but he could be available to start if they were in a pinch. Tarnok is a 2017 draft pick with a mid-90s fastball and a good breaking ball, but most importantly he has starting experience with 20 games under his belt this year.
"This is a highly valued pitching prospect in the Braves system," McAuley told the Midday Show on Tuesday. "This is a kid that has been under the radar, but always someone that I've been intrigued by and wanted to see."
Tarnok is a 2017 draft pick with a mid-90s fastball and a good breaking ball, but most importantly he has starting experience with 20 games under his belt this year.
"Over the last couple of seasons, in about 160 innings, he's struck out 210 batters," McAuley said. "So this is somebody that could start for you if needed on Thursday."
Making your Major League debut in and of itself is something to get a rookie's blood pumping, but also facing off against one of the most feared pitchers of this generation in that game in the heart of a pennant race is something else entirely.
Talk about a 'welcome to the show' moment.
The hope is obviously that either Wright or Fried will be good to go, but perhaps Tarnok will get his chance to follow in the footsteps of the other three rookies on this roster.