LOS ANGELES -- Jesse Chavez was called on to serve as the Braves' opener against the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Huascar Ynoa had been tabbed to be the opener, but he was scratched after experiencing right shoulder discomfort while playing catch early Wednesday afternoon. He was replaced on the NLCS roster by left-hander Dylan Lee, and Ynoa will not be eligible for the World Series roster, should Atlanta advance.
By going with the right-handed Chavez, the Braves neutralized the top of the Dodgers' lineup. He retired Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Trea Turner in order in the first inning, and Atlanta went on to win, 9-2, taking a 3-1 series lead.
After his lone frame, Chavez gave way to left-hander Drew Smyly, who allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings. Right-hander Chris Martin then took over with one out in the fifth and recorded two outs. A.J. Minter (two scoreless innings), Tyler Matzek (one) and Will Smith (one) covered the rest of the game.
With Smyly and Minter, Atlanta has a pair of lefties capable of pitching multiple innings. When the Braves gave Minter the first start of his professional career last season, he responded by recording seven strikeouts over three scoreless innings in Game 5 of the NLCS. But without the presence of the designated hitter this year, Chavez didn't get a chance to pitch as long as Minter did as an opener.
Smyly hadn’t pitched in a game since Oct. 2, and with the decreased velocity he has shown over the past few months, he’s not a good matchup against a majority of the Dodgers’ lineup. But he provided value with his ability to cover multiple innings.
When the Braves get to the seventh inning with a lead, they lean on Tyler Matzek and Minter, the first pitchers in franchise history to appear in each of the team’s first seven postseason games. But with the three days that separated the end of the NL Division Series and the start of the NLCS, Atlanta hasn't shied away from using them.
Lee posted a 1.54 ERA in 35 appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett this year and then made his first two career big league appearances during the final weekend of the regular season. The 27-year-old southpaw possesses a plus curveball.
Lee wasn’t used while on Atlanta’s roster for the NL Division Series against the Brewers.