“I think everybody is available today,” Snitker said. “Tyler is a guy, too, who’s come to me this whole time (saying), ‘I can pitch every day if you need me.’ He’s willing to go all the time. I expect everybody to be available today.”
- Matzek might be MLB’s best comeback story, having last pitched in the majors in 2015 before becoming a key member of the 2020 Braves. In his journey back from experiencing the yips, he spent parts of the past two years with the Texas AirHogs of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
The 29-year-old pitched two of several key sequences in Game 1. He entered and struck out Mike Moustakas with the bases loaded to end the 11th inning. He struck out three consecutive Reds when they had runners at the corners in the 12th, preventing them from even a sacrifice fly that would’ve likely won the game.
“It was great to feel that adrenaline,” Matzek said. “Without fans being there this whole season, it’s been a little weird. Last time (I felt that adrenaline) was probably spring training. I wanted to make an impression. And the first appearance this year. Then I kind of settled in, but it was great to get out there and have some adrenaline in a key game.”
If the Braves' postseason run continues into next week, expect to see more Matzek in high-leverage spots. He earned a 2.79 ERA with 43 strikeouts against 10 walks in 21 games (29 innings) this regular season.
- Matzek showed more emotion Wednesday than he had in any outing this season. He targeted some of that emotion towards the Reds dugout, which he said was a response to the opposition’s trash talk.
“With no fans in the stands, you could hear everything they were saying,” Matzek said. “They were saying some things, but that’s baseball. It’s a man’s sport. They were saying some things and I felt like I got a little emotional and said something back. But that’s how it is.”
When asked if he would elaborate on what the Reds players were saying, Matzek said: “I’m just going to leave it on the field. They were just saying some things. It’s one thing to cheer for your team, it’s another to cheer for your opponent to do bad.”
- Third baseman Austin Riley is still not 100 percent healthy because of quadriceps tightness that cut into his playing time at the end of the regular season. You wouldn’t know it, however, given his stellar defensive play in Wednesday’s win. Among the highlights was Riley diving forward into home plate to tag trapped base-runner Aristides Aquino.
“I asked him how he felt after he ran that guy down,” Snitker said. “And he said, ‘I don’t know. I had so much adrenaline going I didn’t feel anything.’ I think he’s sore. I don’t think this is going to go away. He’s just going to have to manage it. I think he’ll be all right. He just has to be careful coming out of the box, on certain plays. But he’s fine. Everybody is hurting. There’s not a guy in there that doesn’t have some aches or pains. The only day in baseball you feel good is the first day. And every day after that you have something going on with your body. … None of these guys are 100 percent.”
- Here’s the Braves' Game 2 lineup against Luis Castillo and the Reds:
CF Ronald Acuna
1B Freddie Freeman
DH Marcell Ozuna
C Travis d’Arnaud
2B Ozzie Albies
LF Adam Duvall
SS Dansby Swanson
RF Nick Markakis
3B Austin Riley
If you’re curious, here’s the Braves' lineup from Game 3 of the 2001 National League Division Series, when they defeated the Astros 6-2 to complete the sweep.
2B Marcus Giles
1B Julio Franco
3B Chipper Jones
RF Brian Jordan
LF B.J. Surhoff
CF Andruw Jones
SS Rey Sanchez
C Paul Bako
SP John Burkett