Braves: Has Bryse Wilson earned a spot on the playoff roster?

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Bryse Wilson turned in a gem last night in his third start of the season, tossing five shutout innings with a career-high seven strikeouts on just 77 pitches. The win was the third of his major-league career, and it officially clinched the third consecutive NL East title for the Braves, as they thrashed the Marlins 11-1. The outing also made Wilson’s season numbers look rather respectable.

Entering Tuesday, Wilson boasted a 7.04 ERA over 7.2 innings. After last night, he now carries a 4.26 ERA over 12.2 innings. Now, that’s not typically the sample size you expect to see from a potential starting pitcher in the postseason, but this has been far from a typical year for everybody, especially Atlanta’s rotation.

Outside of everything that has happened in 2020, the Braves’ starting pitching had been riddled by injuries and poor performance. Atlanta got a combined 17 innings out of Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels before losing them both for the season. They also got a combined 17 innings out of Sean Newcomb and Mike Foltynewicz before demoting them to the team’s alternate site in Gwinnett. That left the Braves with a revolving door of starting pitchers, and to this point, with only five games remaining in the season, they still don’t have answers.

Max Fried and Ian Anderson will start Games 1 and 2 of a postseason series. Kyle Wright looks like the most likely candidate to start a Game 3 unless he implodes in his final outing of the season. After that, it’s anybody’s best guess, and Wilson’s performance on Tuesday is among the best we’ve seen out of any potential Game 4 starter. However, he will have to do it again if he wants to earn a spot on the playoff roster.

Being frank, Wilson has looked pretty terrible over his last two seasons in Atlanta. It’s a small sample size, yes, but one quality start isn’t enough to overlook how miserable he’s pitched every other time out.

I expect the last five games to act as a tryout of sorts for the final starting pitching roles on the roster. Not only will guys like Wilson, Ynoa, and Wright take the mound, but this is also the perfect time for the Braves to bring up Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb to see if they can offer anything in the postseason. As far as a Game 4 starter goes, I don’t think Snitker will be relying on any of them to go much longer than a few innings — if that.

It’s almost comical that Atlanta is in this position, yet they still clinched one of the toughest divisions in baseball with 10% of their schedule remaining. However, it is what it is, and whoever looks the best over these last five games should be the ones on the playoff roster, whether it is a 22-year-old like Bryse Wilson or a veteran like Sean Newcomb or Mike Foltynewicz.

 

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