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Braves tab Wilson to start NLCS Game 4

@mlbbowman
October 14, 2020

Bryse Wilson became somewhat of a forgotten figure, despite the fact the Braves spent much of these past few months constantly attempting to fill holes in their rotation. But the impression he made when given a chance in the regular season's final few weeks has earned him a start in

Bryse Wilson became somewhat of a forgotten figure, despite the fact the Braves spent much of these past few months constantly attempting to fill holes in their rotation. But the impression he made when given a chance in the regular season's final few weeks has earned him a start in a key postseason game.

Prior to the Braves' 15-3 loss to the Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker announced Wilson will start Game 4 at Globe Life Field in Arlington on Thursday night. Wilson and Huascar Ynoa were seemingly the only options for this start.

But for those who haven't followed the Braves closely, learning Wilson received this assignment might be somewhat surprising. The 22-year-old right-hander has made just seven career starts. The only two starts he made this year were completed over the regular season's final six days.

Still, it's not like Wilson is coming completely out of nowhere. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft and ranked among MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects entering the 2019 season.

"You just never know with these young guys when things might click," Snitker said. "I had a real good feeling the last couple times he threw."

Wilson spent a majority of this season at the team's alternate training site, attempting to compensate for the development he would have gained with a traditional Minor League season. His first encouraging performance of the season occurred on Sept. 9, when he allowed just one run while notching a four-inning save in a 29-9 win over the Marlins.

But Wilson made just one more big league appearance -- a one-inning relief stint -- over the next 12 days. He was not even considered a rotation candidate until Sept. 22, when he limited the Marlins three hits while working five scoreless innings in his first start of the year.

"I really liked what I saw," Snitker said. "It was a lot like Kyle [Wright]. He's starting to take a step forward and figure some things out. I liked how he attacked and used his fastball."

Like Wright, Wilson believes his late-season success was influenced by an improved two-seam fastball, a pitch he had ditched when he was struggling at the Double-A level in 2018.

Opponents had little trouble against Wilson's four-seamer, slider and changeup this year. But they were just 3-for-17 (all singles) against the two-seamer, which resulted in a whiff or a called strike 52 percent (12 of 23) of the time during that Sept. 22 start against the Marlins.

Of course, it should be noted Wilson's sinker resulted in a whiff or a called strike just 13 percent (3 of 23) of the time five days later against the Red Sox.

Wilson was under the impression he would have started Game 4 of the NL Division Series had the Braves not swept that best-of-five series against the Marlins. He prepared for this outing on Friday, when he threw 88 pitches over six innings of a simulated game at Houston's Minute Maid Park.

"I'm ready to go full force, for as long as the team needs me," Wilson said.

Markakis sits
With the Dodgers starting left-hander Julio Urias in Game 3 on Wednesday night, Snitker sat Nick Markakis and moved Austin Riley to left field. Johan Camargo, who replaced the injured Adam Duvall on the NLCS roster on Tuesday, started at third base.

"We feel really good about [Camargo] at third base," Snitker said. "I feel good about Austin in left field. Looking at the matchup, I was just trying to do whatever we could offensively to score some runs."

Camargo is a highly skilled defensive player, and Riley proved he can be an above-average left fielder when he played that position on an everyday basis for a portion of the 2019 season. But this move had more to do with not wanting to have Markakis face a left-handed pitcher.

Camargo ranges 115 ft. for wild sliding snag

Camargo made the most of his first postseason action of 2020, ranging 115 feet in the sixth inning to make a spectacular catch on a foul popup by Joc Pederson. He also added an RBI double in the ninth inning.

Rare power
When Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies homered in both of the first two games of this NLCS, they became the fifth set of teammates to go deep in the first two games of a postseason series.

The most recent time this had occurred was last week, when the Braves received home runs from Travis d'Arnaud and Dansby Swanson in the first two games of the NLDS.

The other three duos to do this were the Braves' Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko (1997 NLCS), the Giants' Barry Bonds and Reggie Sanders (2002 World Series) and the Cubs' Sammy Sosa and Alex Gonzalez ('03 NLCS)

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.