Braves' Lee faces 4, fans 1 in short G4 start

October 31st, 2021

ATLANTA -- Dylan Lee now has the distinction of being the pitcher who made the fewest career appearances before making a World Series start.

Lee served as the Braves’ opener against the Astros in a 3-2 win in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night at Truist Park, the victory pushing Atlanta's advantage in the series to 3-1.

It was a short night for Lee, though. The left-hander picked up a strikeout while allowing an infield single and two walks before his night came to an end after one-third of an inning pitched. He was replaced by right-hander Kyle Wright, who allowed one of those inherited runners to score. The run was charged to Lee.

Lee had made just four career appearances, two of which occurred since the start of the postseason.

“He's been very impressive in the times that we've used him,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said before the game. “We could have went many different ways, really, but he’s shown us we can trust him.”

According to Elias, Marty Bystrom previously held the record for fewest appearances before making a World Series start. Bystrom had seven appearances -- six in the regular season and one in the playoffs -- before starting Game 5 of the 1980 World Series for the Phillies.

Using a surprise opener is becoming an annual event for the Braves. A.J. Minter became the first pitcher to have his first career MLB start come in a playoff game when Atlanta used him as an opener in Game 5 of the 2020 National League Championship Series.

Now, Lee is the first pitcher to have his first career MLB start come in a World Series game.

“I didn't tell him until this afternoon, just for his sake,” Snitker said. “He probably wouldn't have gotten any sleep because people have been texting him and his phone would have been going off all night.”

Lee made his first two career appearances during the regular season’s final weekend and then made two more appearances against the Dodgers in the NLCS.

While posting a 1.54 ERA in 35 appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett this year, Lee limited right-handed hitters to a .447 OPS. Left-handed hitters constructed a much stronger .738 OPS against him.