What comes next? Braves postseason FAQ

October 9th, 2022

ATLANTA -- The Braves had already clinched a fifth consecutive postseason berth, but with a 2-1 win over the Marlins on Tuesday, they clinched their fifth straight National League East crown.

The tight division race wasn't decided after the Braves and Mets played a crucial three-game series last weekend at Truist Park. Atlanta swept the series to win the season set, 10-9, and secure the tiebreaker nod if the teams had ended up tied at the end of the 162-game season.

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. Ehire Adrianza’s left quad has healed, so he could grab the infield spot that opened when Ozzie Albies suffered a right pinkie fracture on Sept. 17 that will sideline him until at least the NL Championship Series.

If Adrianza gets a spot, the question might be whether to carry Ozuna or Guillermo Heredia, who could at least provide value as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner. Carrying Ozuna seemed doubtful until he was placed in the lineup for the final two games of the key late-season series against the Mets. 

There’s hope Spencer Strider’s oblique will be strong enough for him to be either a reliever or starter at some point during the NL Division Series. If Strider isn’t available, Jake Odorizzi may be used as a fourth starter. But if Strider is available to start, carrying Kyle Muller to serve as a matchup reliever might make more sense than giving Odorizzi a roster spot.

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

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

Now that the Braves have won the NL East, they secured the No. 2 seed, meaning they have home-field advantage during the NLDS. Their opponent will be the Phillies, who swept the NL Central champion Cardinals in a two-game Wild Card Series that concluded on Saturday night.

How will the pitching rotation shape up?

With a week off between clinching the division and the start of the NLDS, Atlanta could reset its rotation and go with Fried, Strider, Wright and Morton if Strider is able to return from his oblique injury. There may not be a preference, but Wright and Strider could be flip-flopped depending on the opponent.