While much has been made of the pitching struggles of Max Fried in Game 1 and Spencer Strider in Game 3, the Atlanta Braves can look to their offensive performance as a reason for finding themselves in a must-win situation in Game 4. Atlanta is hitting .196 (19-for-97) in the series and they have gotten very little from some of their key contributors. Don’t expect them to panic thought as they have been in plenty of tight spots over the past five postseason runs.
“It can, it’s baseball,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said when asked about the possibility of the offense turning around quickly. “We’ve been through these things before. you just hope guys relax and just let their talents go, not try and force things.”
“Anytime you go through the offensive things, I think guys try to do too much, and they want to be the guy,” Snitker added. “It doesn’t work that way. One hit, keep the line moving, and you just never know in this game. Hopefully we come out today and put it all behind us and get on one of those runs.”
With a five-game series, the Braves have left themselves little margin for error. Dropping Game 1 at home put them in a tough spot, but a win Saturday would send the series back to Atlanta for a deciding Game 5. Snitker didn’t really have any feelings on the new playoff format that added another Wild Card spot and provided a first round bye to the top two teams in each league.
“I think playoffs are always crazy, in my experiences with it,” Snitker said. “You just want to get in because you never know what might happen and give yourself a chance. It’s been, I would think for fans and all, the entire thing has been pretty good.”
The top two seeds in the National League, the Dodgers and the Braves, enter Saturday in must-win situations on the road against wild card teams.
Potential Game 5 starter
It seems like this would have been a better discussion for after the game should the Braves win Saturday, but Snitker was asked about his plan for a potential Game 5. Fried struggled in Game 1, but the idea of bringing Kyle Wright back to start on short rest doesn’t sound very appealing.
Snitker said that in talking with the training staff, it sounds like Fried feels like he has turned the corner from the stomach bug that he dealt with at the end of the regular season. While initially saying that they would discuss their options after the game, Snitker relented and said that it would in all likelihood be Fried as long as he is feeling well.
“Well, mainly I think it’s going to be Max,” Snitker said. “If he’s feeling really good, then that’s, I’m sure, who we’ll lean towards, but we’ll have discussions after the game and hopefully we’re talking about that.”