Breaking News: Frightening Dark Cloud Hangs Over Braves Ace Spencer Strider

An ominous development for the Atlanta Braves today, as dynamic ace pitcher Spencer Strider was forced out of last night's game with elbow discomfort and is off for an MRI. 

Nothing scares baseball fans (and pitchers) more than hearing "elbow trouble" and "MRI." That combination too often winds up with a Tommy John surgery diagnosis. It's far too early, however, to jump to that conclusion, but still, Braves fans are on pins and needles today.  

Strider's velocity was down, and he exited Friday's game after just four innings. He uncharacteristically gave up seven hits, five runs and three walks in that short outing. 

“He came in (after four innings) and he was complaining about his elbow, so he’s going to get an MRI in the morning. We’ll find out what’s going on,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker. 

The Braves did come back for a stirring comeback victory in their home opener over the Arizona Diamondbacks, but it was small consolation with the Strider news. 

Strider led the major-leagues in strikeouts last season (with a sensational 281) and wins (20), and you'd be hard-pressed to name a more dominant starter in the game today. 

Braves players, management, and of course fans, will be holding their breath until a diagnosis is rendered from Strider's MRI. 

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports