Similar to 2020, 2021 is shaping up to be a lost season for Braves ace Mike Soroka. The 23-year-old right hander tore his Achilles tendon last season on Aug. 3, his third start of the shortened season. The thought was Soroka would be back at some point early this season, but he's suffered a series of setbacks in his attempted return. On Friday, manager Brian Snitker initially said on MLB Network the expectation is that Soroka won't return this season.
"He's down for the year," Snitker said. "Hopefully we'll get him back next year."
Snitker walked back those comments later on Friday, telling reporters, including ESPN, "I messed up earlier. I was wrong." Snitker said Soroka will be reevaluated in two weeks, and the door is open for him to return this year.
Soroka made five starts in 2018 and then announced his presence with authority in 2019. He went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA (176 ERA+), 1.11 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 174 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star, finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting and sixth in NL Cy Young voting.
Consistency in the rotation has been one of the Braves' issues this season. They rank 14th in baseball with a 4.07 ERA from starters, but a lot of that is Ynoa and Anderson holding them up. Morton's 3.98 ERA is serviceable, but Smyly and Fried have been bad for the most part.
The Braves are 24-25 this season. It's only 2 1/2 games out in the NL East. Given the expectations heading into the season after three straight NL East titles and a trip to the 2020 NLCS, it's fair to say the Braves been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball to date. They have spent zero days above .500.