Duvall has been the hero thus far this series, giving the Braves some much-needed insurance in Game 2 with a bomb to dead center off of Jack Flaherty, and driving in two runs in the 9th inning of Game 3 to give Atlanta the lead. He struck out with the bases loaded last night, but other than that, he’s been absolute money in the postseason.
Matt Joyce and Nick Markakis have gone missing this series. While I agree Duvall is best used in a pinch, you have to do something when your 5/6 hitters are hitting .176 and .111, respectively. Markakis has no RBIs and one extra-base hit that came back in Game 1. Joyce has two strikeouts compared to one hit. This team is feeling the blow of missing Ender Inciarte, Johan Camargo, and Charlie Culberson – and Joyce and Kakes have not shown up like they might have hoped. Duvall will likely take Joyce’s lineup slot and move to leftfield, while Markakis will be back in right.
Other lineup questions loom, but I don’t see any other significant changes being made. Brian McCann will likely be behind the dish again after catching Folty in his seven-inning masterpiece earlier in the series. I don’t think it is worth sacrificing that chemistry, even if McCann hasn’t performed up to par at the plate. Freddie Freeman has been the big name this series, and fans are calling for him to be moved down in the lineup. I’m indifferent to doing that, but I don’t see it happening. Josh Donaldson will be batting cleanup no matter what; he can change a game with one swing of the bat. A lineup combination I think would be interesting would go like this:
I don’t expect much change, but hey, I don’t make the lineup cards.