As we await who the Atlanta Braves will play in the NLDS starting Thursday October 4th, lets take a look at what the possible Braves rotation might be for the series.
Game 1: Mike Foltynewicz
Mike Foltynewicz is undoubtedly the Braves ace and will start Game 1 of the series. Foltynewicz in 183 innings pitches is 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA and 202 strikeouts. He was pulled early in the game yesterday and will go on six days rest giving him plenty of time to be ready to go.
Game 2: Kevin Gausman
Kevin Gausman has been one of the best non waiver trade deadline pickups in the starting pitcher department this year. Since coming to the Braves Gausman is 5-2 with a 2.80 ERA and has solidified his place as the second option in the Braves postseason starting pitching roster. Gausman will close out the season for the Braves on Sunday but I expect that he will go the minimum 5 innings, and then will have his normal five days of rest.
Game 3: Anibal Sanchez
Anibal Sanchez has seen his career resurrected with the Braves this year going 7-6 with a 2.96 ERA. The reason that I think he gets the game 3 nod though is that he has turned in 11 quality starts. A quality start is defined when a pitcher goes at least 6 innings and does not give up more than three runs. Sanchez has one more start today but I expect that he also will only go the minimum 5 innings and have eight days of rest.
Game 4: Julio Tehran/Mike Foltynewicz
Game 4 presents two options. If the Braves are up 2-1 in the series I expect Julio Tehran to get the ball to close the series out. While no longer considered the Braves ace Julio has turned in a respectable season going 9-9 with a 3.94 ERA and might even be considered the game 3 option over Sanchez depending on the NLDS opponent. If the Braves are down 2-1 their may be a possibility that Mike Foltynewicz starts on short rest but I would think that the Braves would like to save him for a potential game 5 start.
Game 5: Mike Foltynewicz
If the NLDS series goes to 5 games I fully expect Mike Foltynewicz to get the ball. Simply put he is the staff ace and the guy you want on the mound in a win or go home situation. If the Braves do decide to use him in Game 4 it will most likely be Kevin Gausman on the mound with a short leash if he is to run into any problems.
Bob Lancaster @bowlinbob