Braves postseason roster reliant on opponent matchups

Lefty Max Fried is among those competing for a spot. He won’t make another start this season, manager Brian Snitker confirmed, but the team wants additional looks at him in the bullpen.

Fried pitched two innings Sunday against the Phillies, allowing two hits. If Fried qualifies for the postseason roster, it’ll be as a reliever who also could be ready to enter the game if a starter was forced out early. 

Touki Toussaint was slated to start Tuesday. Snitker wouldn’t rule out giving him an appearance out of the bullpen during the season’s final series in Philadelphia this weekend.

Snitker said the Braves have considered starters becoming relievers. The team hasn’t decided who will be its fourth starter, but Mike Foltynewicz, Kevin Gausman and Anibal Sanchez appear locks for the first three slots.

It would be hard to put Julio Teheran in the bullpen. He’s the franchise’s five-time opening-day starter who’s pitched better of late. His first inning usually is his worst – not the quality one wants from a reliever.

The Braves skipped Sean Newcomb’s start in the Phillies series, and he’s slated to pitch Wednesday in New York. Newcomb theoretically is a much better fit in the bullpen than Teheran. 

As presented with Fried, Newcomb could enter in a pinch. The same can be said of Toussaint, who’s blown the team away since joining the major league club in August.

Toussaint nor Fried have secured spots, but the former will be tough to leave off barring a dropoff in his last two outings. The Braves also like the fact that Los Angeles nor Colorado, their most likely opponents, have seen Toussaint. 

“A lot of this is determined by who we play,” Snitker said. “There’s some different scenarios for different teams, just in the preliminary talks we’ve had, it’s going to come down to matchups and who we play.”

The Braves clearly feel comfortable with their options. No one will necessarily pitch his way onto or out of the postseason roster, Snitker alluded.

“We pretty much know the guys in the starting lineups and whatnot,” he said. “We’re going to take the hot hands.”

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