The Atlanta Braves are going to be a powerhouse sooner rather than later with some of the best young talent in baseball, and one of those guys takes the mound in Monday's series opener in San Francisco as a solid favorite on the MLB odds: Mike Soroka. The 21-year-old Soroka (4-1, 0.98), who is from Calgary, has allowed one or fewer earned runs in nine of his first 11 starts (he made five in 2018 but kept his rookie status), the only starter in MLB history to accomplish that since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913.
Soroka has allowed one earned run or fewer in all six of his starts to begin this season. The only other pitcher age 21 or younger to do that since 1920 was Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 with the Dodgers when he had seven in a row, five of which were shutouts. Valenzuela won NL Rookie of the Year that season, and Soroka is an early favorite on the MLB odds for 2019. Soroka's 0.98 ERA is the fourth-lowest by a rookie in the expansion era through six starts, with Valenzuela's 0.33 in 1981 the record. Soroka's ERA is also the lowest for a Braves rookie through six starts since the "immortal" Dana Fillingim had a 0.34 mark in 1918.
Finally, Soroka almost impossibly has allowed just one home run in 62.1 big-league innings, and his streak of 56.1 consecutive innings without giving up one ? the Mets' Yoenis Cespedes went yard off him in Soroka's big-league debut on May 1, 2018 ? is the longest in the majors.
One of Soroka's worst starts, however, was May 6 last year when he allowed four runs and seven hits over a career-low four innings in a home loss to the Giants. He's opposed by southpaw Andrew Suarez, who's making his 2019 MLB debut. Sportsbooks list the Braves as -135 favorites in MLB odds. First pitch is at 9:45 p.m. ET.