What comes next? Braves postseason FAQ

September 21st, 2022

ATLANTA -- The Braves have clinched a fifth consecutive postseason berth, but they are still aiming to win a fifth straight National League East crown.

It looks like the tight division race could be decided when the Braves and Mets play a three-game series at Truist Park from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. New York holds a 9-7 lead in the season series, so Atlanta would need to sweep that three-game set to gain the tiebreaker nod if both teams are tied at the end of the 162-game season.

The postseason picture will become clearer over the next couple weeks. But here is a look at some of the primary questions you might have.

How might the postseason roster look?

The question is whether there will be a roster spot for Marcell Ozuna, who was already looking like an odd man out before his DUI arrest on Aug. 19. If Ehire Adrianza’s left quad heals within the next two weeks, he could grab the infield spot that opened when Ozzie Albies suffered a right pinkie fracture on Saturday that will sideline him for at least the rest of the regular season. The question might be whether to carry Ozuna or Guillermo Heredia, who could at least provide value as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner. The last pitching spot will be interesting. Jake Odorizzi has postseason experience, but adding Kyle Muller’s big left-handed arm might be better from a matchup standpoint.

C: Travis d’Arnaud
1B: Matt Olson
2B: Vaughn Grissom
SS: Dansby Swanson
3B: Austin Riley
OF: Robbie Grossman, Eddie Rosario, Michael Harris, Ronald Acuña Jr., Guillermo Heredia
DH: William Contreras, Marcell Ozuna
UTIL: Orlando Arcia
SP: Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, Charlie Morton
Bullpen: Kenley Jansen, Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, Collin McHugh, Tyler Matzek, Dylan Lee, Jesse Chavez, Jackson Stephens, Kyle Muller

What’s left for the Braves in the regular season?

Winning the National League East will be even more beneficial with this year’s postseason schedule. If the Braves were to have to play in the best-of-three Wild Card Series, they would likely begin the Division Series with their No. 4 starter. By winning the division, Atlanta would gain a weekend off and a chance to set its rotation for the NLDS.

Securing 100 wins: It looks like the Braves might need to hit the century mark in wins to clinch another NL East crown. But at the same time, this would be quite an accomplishment for a team that exited May with a losing record.

Who will be the opponent in the Braves’ first playoff series?

If the Braves win the NL East, it looks like they would secure the No. 2 seed, meaning they would have home-field advantage during the NLDS. Their opponent would likely be the winner of a Wild Card Series between the Cardinals (expected NL Central champs) and either the Phillies, Brewers or Padres.

If Atlanta gains entrance as a Wild Card team, it would likely host Philadelphia, Milwaukee or San Diego in a best-of-three Wild Card Series. The Braves will likely be the top Wild Card seed, meaning each of the three games would be played at Truist Park.

How will the pitching rotation shape up?

This likely will depend on how the starters are used during the final week in an attempt to win the division. The rotation will also be influenced by whether the Braves begin in the Wild Card round or have a bye into the NLDS.

If Atlanta was given time to set its rotation for the NLDS, it could go with Fried, Strider, Wright and Morton. There may not be a preference, but Wright and Strider could be flip-flopped depending on the opponent.