The Atlanta Braves announced Ian Anderson will start Game 2 of the NLCS, opting to give Charlie Morton extra rest and saving him for Game 3.
The Braves had an interesting choice on their hands. On one hand, Morton has been rock-solid all season (3.34 ERA, 3.17 FIP) and would be pitching on normal rest in Game 2. It would also line him up for what could be a series-deciding Game 6.
However, after pitching on short rest in Game 4 of the NLDS, there was an argument to be made for giving the 37-year-old veteran an extra 48 hours to recover. There is also something to be said for starting Morton in a hostile Dodger Stadium instead of Anderson, who is yet to pitch on the road in the postseason and has notable home/road splits this year.
On the other hand, voluntarily pushing your most battle-tested starting pitcher back in the rotation so he can only pitch in Game 3 and a far-from-guaranteed Game 7 is one that could prove costly. The Braves opted in hold Mike Soroka back in 2019 as the Game 3 starter instead of throwing him in Game 1 or 2. We all know how that series went. Past performance is not indicative of future results, but in a short series, every move matters.
Game 1 will feature Max Fried against the Dodger bullpen, headlined by starter Corey Knebel.