Lots of teams give September starts to players not generally thought to be in that team’s plans for the season. In many cases, they are giving young minor league hurlers a chance to show their stuff on the big stage. In the Braves case, they’ll be using a journeyman veteran, in the form of Josh Collmenter, to take on the Nats on Saturday afternoon.
Collmenter is an interesting if not particularly effective pitcher. He was a 15th-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2007, who debuted with them in 2011. His rookie season was his best: a 3.38 ERA / 3.80 FIP in the desert is nothing to sneeze at, and he was rewarded with 2.3 fWAR in just over 150 innings for his effort. Since then, his effectiveness has varied. He was an average-ish pitcher in a swingman role for the Snakes the following year, had a pretty good long relief season in 2013, and another average season as a nearly full-time starter (with a few relief appearances) in 2014.
His effectiveness cratered in 2015, however (3.79 ERA, 4.65 FIP), and after 15 poor relief appearances this season for the Diamondbacks, they gave him the boot. He made four starts for the Cubs’ AAA affiliate, and was then acquired by the Braves for some depth, which is the role he’s essentially serving today.
Gio Gonzalez has run hot and cold this season, but overall, has another solid campaign under his belt (2.5 fWAR in 164 innings so far). A lot of that cold has come against the Braves: he was thrashed for six runs in three innings against them 11 days ago, and allowed four runs (three earned) while failing to complete six frames in late August. However, he did shut the Braves out for six innings back in April, in what was his first start of the season.
Overall, Gonzalez seems to have recovered from a pretty nasty stretch where he gave up runs in bunches between late May and early July. He has a 3.44 FIP for the second half of 2016.
Freddie Freeman is expected to be back in the lineup after missing some time following the birth of his child. This will be Josh Collmenter’s first start since June of 2015.
Saturday, September 17, 1:05 pm ET
Turner Field, Atlanta, GA
TV: FOX (sigh)
Radio: WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, 680 AM / 93.7 FM