Expect Mark Melancon to remain in the role of closer.
Mike Foltynewicz was brilliant in Game 2 and Braves manager Brian Snitker likewise will let Folty go as long as he’s effective. As for if he needs to be removed, “it’s definitely an all-hands-on-deck,” Snitker said Tuesday.
Also, lefty Max Fried was mentioned as someone who could go multiple innings. He worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings in Games 1-3 but wasn’t used in Game 4.
If the Braves somehow get to Flaherty early, an intriguing option arises. Adam Wainwright was brilliant in Game 3 and has a career 2.79 postseason ERA. His stuff is far diminished from when he was a Cy Young candidate, but I could see him working 2-3 strong innings to keep his team in the game with their backs against the wall. After all, this could well be his last game in the Cardinals uniform and he surely doesn’t want that to be the case. Even if his arm isn’t feeling good, he’s the type who could gut through something. If Flaherty is able to go seven innings, I’d bet Shildt doesn’t mess too much with his formula and sticks with familiar late-inning guys like Andrew Miller, Giovanny Gallagos and, gulp, Carlos Martinez.
The Braves host the Cardinals for the decisive Game 5 of their NLDS on Wednesday to determine who gets to advance to the NLCS, with the Nationals at Dodgers game to follow. Two Game 5s on the same day is beautiful for any self-respecting baseball fan. How might the pitching for either team line up? Let’s take a look.
Get excited. It’s a playoff elimination game between two division winners.
If the Braves need anyone aside from Folty, Soroka, Fried and Melancon I’d wager one of two things: Extra innings or a Braves loss.
Jack Flaherty gets the ball and he’s the ace of the staff who should get some Cy Young support. Surely, Cardinals manager Mike Schildt will let Flaherty go as long as he can.