Season-opening road trip continues for Braves as they head to Chicago to face White Sox

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Weather will likely be a factor as the Braves plan to play three against the White Sox on Chicago’s South Side

After taking two of three in Philadelphia, the Atlanta Braves will continue their season-opening road trip Monday with a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox. The Braves banged out 25 runs and 39 hits while scoring a series win against the Phillies. Atlanta took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning in the series finale Sunday, but Philadelphia plated three runs in the inning and then hung on to win 5-4.

Ozzie Albies homered for the second straight game Sunday, while Michael Harris II and Orlando Arcia had six hits each in the series. New outfielder Jarred Kelenic is 5-for-7 with a double and two RBI in his first three games in a Braves uniform. The bullpen allowed three runs on Sunday, but was otherwise solid after Max Fried failed to make it out of the first inning in Saturday’s game. The Braves did lose catcher Sean Murphy to an oblique injury on Opening Day; Murphy was placed on the injured list Saturday with Chadwick Tromp, who started Sunday’s loss, recalled in his place.

The White Sox will come into the first game of this series at 0-3 after they were swept at home by the Detroit Tigers. There will be plenty of familiar faces for Braves fans after the two clubs completed a five-player trade during the offseason. Braden Shewmake has seen action at shortstop and second base and hit his first career home run on Saturday. Nicky Lopez is 1-for-7 at the plate in two games. It seemed possible at one point, but it looks like Atlanta won’t see Michael Soroka in this series. Soroka started Saturday and allowed seven hits and four runs over five innings.

Monday and Wednesday’s game are scheduled to start in the afternoon with Tuesday serving as the only scheduled night game in the series. However, the forecast is calling for cold temperatures and rain on Monday and Tuesday with a chance of snow on Wednesday. This will be the only matchup between the two teams this season, so delays should probably be expected. Some of us still remember the near-monsoon conditions the Braves endured in a wild loss in Chicago against the Cubs back in 2018, and given the need to get these games in, it’s possible that we’ll be subject to inclement weather-affected play once again.

Monday, April 1, 2:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Charlie Morton (2023: 30 GS, 163.1 IP, 25.6 K%, 11.6 BB%, 3.64 ERA, 3.87 FIP)

Charlie Morton will make his season debut in Monday’s series opener. Morton will begin his 17th season in the majors after the Braves picked up his 2024 option. The veteran right-hander, who turned 40 during the offseason, has made at least 30 starts in each of the past three seasons for Atlanta. He made four appearances in Spring Training, where he allowed five earned runs to go along with 17 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. The White Sox are capable of running out a majority-lefty lineup to face Morton, which will be something to watch closely as the season unfolds.

Chris Flexen (2023: 29 G, 16 GS, 102.1 IP, 15.9 K%, 8.2 BB%, 6.86 ERA, 6.22 FIP)

Veteran right-hander Chris Flexen will make his first start of the season for the White Sox in Monday’s game. Flexen split last season between Seattle and Colorado and struggled with a 6.86 ERA and a 6.22 FIP in 102 1/3 innings. He made just three appearances during Spring Training, allowing two runs in nine innings. Flexen hasn’t faced the Braves since 2019, but he hasn’t had much success in his career against them either, allowing six runs in eight innings across four appearances. You may remember Flexen as the guy who had a little career renaissance with a 3.0 fWAR season after spending the pandemic-affected 2020 season in the KBO, but he’s been a non-factor in each of the last two seasons and will be trying to once again resurrect his MLB fortunes in this outing.

Tuesday, April 2, 7:40 p.m. ET (Bally Sports Southeast)

Reynaldo Lopez (2023: 68 G, 66.0 IP, 29.9 K%, 12.2 BB%, 3.27 ERA, 3.91 FIP)

Reynaldo Lopez will make his official Braves debut in Tuesday’s game against his former White Sox teammates. Lopez pitched for Chicago from 2017 through last season, but signed a three-year deal with Atlanta during the offseason. Lopez has worked primarily as a reliever over the last three seasons, but the Braves announced after the signing that they were going to give him an opportunity to start. Lopez won the fifth starter spot over Bryce Elder after allowing four runs over 16 2/3 innings across five appearances during Spring Training.

Garrett Crochet (1 GS, 6.0 IP, 34.8 K%, 0.0 BB%, 1.50 ERA, 1.19 FIP)

Left-hander Garrett Crochet will make his second career start Tuesday against Lopez. Crochet appeared in 72 games as a reliever over his first three seasons in the majors. He shifted to the rotation this season and was impressive on Opening Day allowing five hits, one run to go along with eight strikeouts in six innings against the Tigers.

Wednesday, April 3, 2:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Spencer Strider ( 1GS, 5.0 IP, 40.0 K%, 10.0 BB%, 3.60 ERA, 4.46 FIP)

Strider will make his second start of the season in Wednesday’s series finale. Strider cruised through the first four innings of his Opening Day start in Philadelphia before running into a bit of trouble in the fifth. Brandon Marsh’s two-run home run ended up being the only blemish against him as he allowed just three hits to go along with eight strikeouts.

TBD

The White Sox haven’t announced their starter for Wednesday yet. They opened the season with just four starters so they will either need to make a roster move or go with a bullpen game.

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Title: Season-opening road trip continues for Braves as they head to Chicago to face White Sox
Author: Kris Willis

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