With his trio of postseason starters already used up, Braves manager Brian Snitker has opted to run with the bullpen for Wednesday’s Game 4 against the Dodgers. In last night’s gut-punch of a loss, veteran Charlie Morton labored through a five-inning start that required 96 pitches, meaning his next outing may not come again until this weekend.
Braves plan on bullpen game for NLCS Game 4 https://t.co/4yKwxDDQsB
— AJC Sports (@AJCsports) October 19, 2021
As far as the bullpen’s workload, at the time of this writing, Snitker hadn’t officially announced a planned starter, though it seems likely it’ll be a lefty given that has been the approach by the Braves thus far. Both A.J. Minter and Tyler Matzek worked an inning apiece in Wednesday’s game, though each only threw 16 and 14 pitches, respectively, so it seems practical that either one is still available to serve as an opener. Huascar Ynoa is another viable option given he hasn’t pitched in awhile.
Thinking outside the box (forgive me), but Drew Smyly is also a possible candidate for an opener today. The 32-year-old southpaw hasn’t pitched at all in this series, and it may come as a surprise, but the man has historically pitched very well in the playoffs. For his career, Smyly owns a 2.57 ERA in seven postseason innings. However, his last playoff appearance came all the way back in 2013 when he was with the Tigers.
This will be the Braves first bullpen game in this year’s postseason, though many thought they might do it in the elimination game against the Brewers. The Dodgers will counter with Julio Urias tonight. We’ll update you once Snitker announces an actual starter.