Throughout this season, Brian Snitker has made it a point to stress a one day at a time methodology, but even he had to admit that there is plenty of excitement coming into this weekend’s series against the New York Mets. Snitker and the Braves are expecting a playoff atmosphere for Friday night’s series opener against the Mets and Jacob deGrom.
“Yeah, it’s fun. Honestly when we started this thing and you looked at the schedule and thought maybe it might come down to this,” Snitker said.
“We knew going in that they were going to be a really good club,” he added. “They did a lot of things in the offseason. They’ve gotten a lot of their guys back. They’ve shown their organizational depth. That’s a good club and we knew when we started out that this was going to be a rough division.”
The Mets have led the division essentially from the outset. The Braves have been pronounced dead on more than one occasion, but have found a way to dig themselves out of the hole and climb back in the race. Things looked bleak when the Mets took four of five from Atlanta in early August. True to form, the Braves came back a week later and took three of four at Truist Park, including a win over deGrom.
When asked about his team’s resiliency, Snitker pointed to their experience in big situations. For the most part, this core group has been to the playoffs for four straight seasons and is coming off of last season’s World Series win. They have proven time and again that the moment isn’t too big for them.
“I think it’s very much so. They’re used to these situations,” Snitker said. “They are used to the stressful games. They are used to having to win. They’ve been through pretty much everything that you can experience I think, so that’s always good.”
The Braves have little margin for error this weekend in terms of the division race, but their spot in the postseason has already been secured. Still, Snitker said that the goal has always been to win the division and that remains the case.
“You want to win the division, I think you’d like to have those down days to set everything up,” Snitker said. “But if not, I like the fact that we’re in. We are going to give ourselves a chance to do something special again. When we leave spring training every year, our number one goal is to win the division and that still is right now.”
Michael Harris hitting third again
Rookie outfielder Michael Harris is slotted into the third spot in the batting order for the second straight game. When asked about the decision, Snitker said that he though having Harris in the third spot helped balance the lineup.
“I like him coming up. It kind of balances our lineup a little bit,” Snitker said. “Getting him up there more, because of what he’s done and what he’s shown and been able to do. I kind of like how it lengthens our lineup even more when he’s up there.”
Spencer Strider, who is currently on the injured list with a sore oblique muscle, still hasn’t resumed throwing and Snitker said that they probably won’t have a timeline for him until that happens.
“He hasn’t thrown yet,” Snitker said. “I was in the weight room with him earlier and he was doing all the exercises and stuff like that, but he hasn’t thrown yet. They just want to make sure before he starts, and they don’t know what to expect when he starts heading in.”
“He feels good and said he felt a lot better today than he did yesterday,” Snitker added. “I think they’re just going to wait until the very last minute before they start him throwing. I don’t think you’re going to know until he does that.”
Prior to Friday’s game, Ozzie Albies was working out on the field taking some ground balls with a new smaller cast on his right hand. Snitker said that he will be in this cast for about a week and then they will reevaluate.
“He got a new one the other day for another week,” Snitker said of Albies. “I don’t know if we will know anything until he actually gets out of it and where it’s at. They X-rayed it and everything looked good. He’s staying in shape as best he can and doing as much as he can.”