Yesterday’s thrashing at the hands of the Dodgers was a carbon copy of Game 5 of last year’s NLDS. The only difference is this time, the Braves get to show back up at the park the next day with a chance to take a 3-1 series lead and inch themselves closer to a World Series berth.
Game 3’s starter, Kyle Wright, didn’t do a good job of staying ahead in the count, and Los Angeles’ bats — that have been quiet for most of the series — made him pay for every mistake. Wright was only able to record two outs, allowing seven runs before Brian Snitker pulled the plug, but it didn’t help that Grant Dayton came in and allowed four more to cross the plate before the Braves could even bat. By the time the bottom of the first arrived, the game was essentially over.
Typically, it’s hard to come up with any positives when you give up eleven runs in the opening frame and lose by twelve, but there was one performance worth noting. Huascar Yona entered the game — with the Braves desperately needing some length — for Grant Dayton after he surrendered eight runs in just two innings, and the rookie delivered, tossing four scoreless innings of one-hit ball. Ynoa did walk four, but he scattered them and avoided any damage.
How Brian Snitker approaches the rest of the series will depend a lot on tonight. If the Braves win, I don’t imagine he will push Max Fried or Ian Anderson on short rest. However, if they lose, I expect Fried to be on the mound in Game 5, with Anderson starting Game 6. If that happens, and there is a Game 7, the Braves won’t exactly have the most inspiring options.
Kyle Wright may have only thrown 30 pitches last night, but I don’t know how Brian Snitker could possibly turn to him in a winner-take-all Game 7 after the abuse he took. After the game, he had the right attitude, stating that he didn’t want to forget his Game 3 start; he wanted to learn from it. However, throwing him into that situation his next time out would be cruel.
Bryse Wilson likely would not be available on short rest regardless of how good he looks tonight, neither would Fried or Anderson. The Braves could go with a bullpen game, but even then, Huascar Ynoa makes the most sense as an opener.
The hard-throwing 22-year old was used as an opener throughout the regular season. That experience, along with his performance in Game 3, makes him a prime candidate to get the ball to start a potential winner-take-all matchup. In Game 7, all hands will be on deck, so Snitker wouldn’t be asking Ynoa to go more than 2-3 innings before turning it over to the rest of the bullpen.
I’ve said it several times this season, but the fact that the Braves have been able to put themselves in this position with the way their rotation is constructed is almost comical. After Max Fried and Ian Anderson, it is a mess, and it only got worse following Kyle Wright’s performance last night. With everything on the line, assuming Fried and Anderson aren’t available, Brian Snitker has to go with the hot hand, and that guy right now is Dominican born Huascar Ynoa.