The Braves were able to win Games 1 and 2 by the hair on their chin; however, the real test begins tonight, as Kyle Wright takes the mound in Game 3 with Bryse Wilson scheduled to start Game 4. The Dodgers have one of the most potent offenses in the game and are due for an explosion. Meanwhile, Wright and Wilson don’t exactly have stellar track records.
Wright appears to have turned a corner late in the season, and that was on full display last week against the Marlins, as he tossed a three-hit shutout with seven strikeouts over six innings. The adjustments he made after he was demoted to the alternate site in the middle of the season have undoubtedly made a difference. Still, he hasn’t faced a lineup like the Dodgers yet, and this will undoubtedly be the most pressure he’s been under in his young career.
Wilson’s major-league career is even shakier. He only threw 15.2 innings for the Braves this season, spending most of his time in Gwinnett. His last four outings have been promising, posting a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings, but when you look at the quality of the offenses he faced — the Marlins (twice), Orioles, and Red Sox — it diminishes those numbers a bit.
Truthfully, I’m a bit surprised Brian Snitker already decided to start Wilson in Game 4. Hypothetically, if the series goes to 2-1 after tonight, I thought the Braves would roll with the bullpen for the entire nine innings tomorrow. But it looks like Wilson’s done enough to earn the manager’s trust in perhaps the biggest moment of the Braves season. However, in both of these games, Snitker shouldn’t hesitate to turn to his relief core early.
Snitker has done a fantastic job so far this postseason, pulling all the right strings. He made a mistake by putting Josh Tomlin in last night, but Mark Melancon saved him from any criticism. However, Snitker hasn’t exactly had to make many tough decisions thus far. That will change over the next two games.
The way Snitker manages these young starters and the bullpen will be critical. It’s important for the Braves to win Game 3 or 4 to keep their edge in the series, but you don’t want to waste all your bullets and have a drained bullpen for the final three games of the series. However, at the same time, you don’t want to leave one of these youngsters out there for too long and fail to give your team a chance to win. There’s a fine line Snitker will have to walk over the next two days, and if he does it successfully, he deserves a ton of praise.
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