The Braves were able to wrap up their Wild Card Series early Thursday afternoon, setting themselves up to have four days of rest before beginning the NLDS against the Marlins next Tuesday, October 6th. Those extra days of rest are critical for every team, but they are especially important to the Braves, who have several players that are not 100%.
Before their series with the Reds, Ronald Acuña was nursing a wrist injury — the same injury that has been bothering him all season and forced him onto the 10-day IL. He still played and was undoubtedly the Braves’ best bat over the two games; however, getting him as close to 100% as possible is vital for Atlanta’s success moving forward. Here’s what the Braves’ 22-year-old phenom had to say about his wrist issue after the game on Thursday.
#Braves' Acuña on sore wrist: "My two options are not play or play through it, and I know it’s something I can control. The pain is tolerable and manageable. So that’s what I’m going to keep doing. I’m going to ride it out with this team the whole way.”
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) October 1, 2020
You have to love the attitude but get healthy, king.
Chris Martin was also nursing a groin injury. Like Acuña, it didn’t look to affect him very much, as he tossed two scoreless innings — one in each game. However, a few extra days off can only help.
Finally, Austin Riley was dealing with a hamstring injury at the end of the regular season. Before the series with the Reds, Brian Snitker said that he was not 100% but that he would play. It didn’t seem to affect him when scoring the go-ahead run from first on the double by Acuña in the fifth inning of Game 2, but hamstring injuries can linger, and these days off should help him get much closer to 100%.
It’s also worth noting that there will be no days off during the NLDS or NLCS. If both series go the distance, the Braves will have to play 12 games in 13 days. Getting all their pitchers well-rested before embarking on this grind is a must, so it is a good thing Atlanta wrapped up the Wild Card Series as quickly as possible.