This Friday, the Braves will kick off their 5-game matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers. Here’s the schedule:
- Game 1, Friday October 8th @Milwaukee, 4:37 ET
- Game 2, Saturday, October 9th @Milwaukee, 5:07 ET
- Game 3, Monday, October 11th @Atlanta, TBD
- Game 4, Tuesday, October 12th, @Atlanta, TBD
- Game 5, Thursday, October 14th @Milwaukee, TBD
With off days after the 2nd and 4th games, the Braves will only need to carry 4 starting pitchers, which would opens up more relief options and/or an added bench player. However, if history holds true, the Braves might go a different route and utilize piggy-backed starting pitchers in Game 4.
First Round 26-Man Roster Predictions
Unless there’s an injury that pops up out of nowhere, the first 3 starting pitchers are easy predictions:
From there, the pitchers that have logged innings as an MLB starter (no, I’m not counting openers) on the 40-man are Drew Smyly, Huascar Ynoa, Tucker Davidson, Kyle Muller, Touki Toussaint, and Kyle Wright.
In this scenario, we can likely scratch Tucker, Muller, Touki, and Wright. For Tucker, it’s been said they’re looking at him for the later rounds as he’s just not ready yet after a long IL stint due to a “forearm strain”. Kyle Wright Houdini’d his way into the postseason mix last year and was brilliant until he wasn’t, but there doesn’t seem to be any faith in him currently as he’s been leapfrogged by everyone all year after a horrendous start. Both Muller and Touki suffered from inconsistencies and simply lost the ability to command the zone. I think if they were going to be given a chance, especially for the 1st round, they’d have been called back last week. By law of subtraction, that leaves us with Ynoa and Smyly. The 2 of them piggybacking in Game 4 makes a lot of sense in an “all hands on deck” bullpen game. So, 5 “starters” for 4 games.
What happens when your big offseason signing gets himself in a domestic scandal, your future CF stud turns dud quick, and the best player in baseball tears an ACL? You buy a brand new outfield. I expect the Braves will continue more of the same with Jorge Soler in RF, Adam Duvall in CF, and Eddie Rosario in LF.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. I’m guessing that Joc Pederson, Ehire Adrianza, and William Contreras are locks, but what about Guillermo Heredia or Orlando Arcia? Would the Braves rather have someone like Cristian Pache to be the defensive whiz/pinch runner? Or maybe even go with pure speed in Terrance Gore, whose sole purpose is to run really, really fast? Would the Braves entertain the idea of 3 catchers to free up Contreras to pinch hit? If the team really thinks they’ll be running a bullpen game for Game 4, it’s highly likely that they’d want a deeper bench rather than going with 4 as they’ve been nearly all season. My guess is they go with a 5-man bench, keep Heredia and add a 3rd catcher like Jeff Mathis so they can free up d’Arnaud or Contreras for pinch-hitting purposes. If the Braves make it to where they’re facing an AL team, I’d wager things could get wild.
Thus far, I’ve got the Braves going with 5ish starting pitchers, then 8 starting position players, a 5-man bench, and that leaves room for 8 relievers. Jesse Chavez, Chris Martin, Luke Jackson, A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek, Richard Rodriguez, and Will Smith are probably the first 7 and newcomer Spencer Strider will round out the Elite 8. Rich Rod and Martin are the 2 that have their feet to the fire and could be yanked from this list should they falter and Braves still advance.
What are your thoughts on the Braves Postseason Roster? Have a setup you’d like to see instead? Let’s hear in the comments!