Braves: Newcomb makes case for playoff rotation in final start


The hardest decision Brian Snitker will have to make this postseason will be choosing the starting pitchers in the postseason. After Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves have four, or even five, guys who are good but not great. Kevin Gausman has earned a spot in the rotation because of his stellar pitching since being traded to the Braves. Anibal Sanchez’s consistency has all but locked up a starting spot for himself. Nipping at their heels are the likes of Sean Newcomb and Julio Teheran, who have both had high-quality seasons but have been inconsistent at times.

Newcomb began the year on fire. In fact, prior to July, he was a strong candidate for nomination to the All-Star game. That’s where the problems began. Newcomb finished the month of July with a 5.06 ERA after going 7-1 with an ERA of 2.07 in the months of May and June. The numbers only worsened as he recorded an egregious 6.75 ERA in August, and while September has been slightly better, there have been no signs of the pitcher we saw at the beginning of the year.

Not until yesterday, when Newcomb went without allowing a run for the first time since August 23rd and just his second time in three months. Although it was only five innings, the southpaw was electric, striking out 8 while allowing a single hit. Control was still an issue, as he walked four, but this was the best Newcomb has looked on the bump in quite some time, reminding everyone what kind of upside he brings in a potential playoff matchup.

The other option, Julio Teheran, will tow the rubber for his last start of the regular season tonight. Unlike Newcomb, Teheran has pitched his best over the months of August and September, going 1-1 in 9 starts with an ERA slightly over three. However, his inconsistencies over the last few seasons have been well-documented and his one career playoff start went horribly. He still probably holds an upper hand on Newcomb because of experience, but he’s going to have to remind Snitker and the rest of Braves Country why he should be starting with a quality outing tonight.

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