For the second outing in a row, Bryce Elder failed to deliver. This time, only going 3.2 innings while allowing four earned runs in the Braves loss to the Phillies.
Contrary to a lot of fans, I’m still pro Bryce Elder. You’d be hard pressed to find a #4 in baseball that’s been more productive over the entire season, and even over his last six starts going into yesterday afternoon, he posted a 2.97 ERA. The guy has been rock solid for six months and is deserving of a chance to start a playoff game. With that being said, there is a scenario where I see the Braves leaving him off the NLDS roster.
As I’ve talked about on several occasions, the NLDS schedule is super wonky, in a good way for the Braves. They will play Game 1 at home, which is followed by an off-day before Game 2 which is followed by another off-day for travel. Then, if there’s a Game 5, there will be another off-day after Game 4.
Now, I’ve done the math so you don’t have to. The Braves can start Max Fried in Game 1 then again in Game 4 on full rest. They can do the same for Spencer Strider, starting him in Game 2 and then again in a potential Game 5 on full rest. Charlie Morton would presumably get the ball in Game 3; there’s no need whatsoever for a fourth starter unless an injury arises.
Because of this, I could see the Braves going in a different direction and carrying as many relievers as possible, especially if Nick Anderson can get healthy. Kyle Wright could also be used out of the bullpen if he looks better in his final couple of outings. However, that is a lot of ifs. I still think there’s a place on the roster for Bryce Elder as an emergency long reliever, but there is a world where he’s not included and has to wait until the NLCS to make an appearance.
Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire