Braves adjust rotation for coming stretch

May 22, 2021 Atlanta - Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bryse Wilson throws a pitch in the first inning against Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
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May 22, 2021 Atlanta - Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Bryse Wilson throws a pitch in the first inning against Pittsburgh Pirates at Truist Park on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The Braves made multiple adjustments to their rotation before beginning a stretch of 12 games in 10 days Tuesday, a run that includes a pivotal road trip in the National League East.

Left-hander Kyle Muller initially was slated to start Monday against the Padres before the game was rained out. He was pushed to Tuesday, then bumped again to Wednesday, when he’ll start Game 1 of a doubleheader against San Diego at Truist Park.

Righty Touki Toussaint started in Muller’s place Tuesday, his first outing of the season. Charlie Morton, first set to start Game 2 on Wednesday, was bumped for Bryse Wilson, who will return from Triple-A Gwinnett likely as the 27th man for the doubleheader.

It was necessary maneuvering for the Braves, who are entering a busy 10 days that will determine their trade-deadline approach. Several factors influenced the Braves’ decision to reorganize their rotation, manager Brian Snitker said.

“After (Monday’s rainout), we started talking about roster management, opposition, a lot of different things factored into all this,” Snitker said. “Gwinnett was canceled (Tuesday) already, so Bryse was supposed to pitch (Tuesday). It gives Charlie an extra day. We’re going to take advantage of the 27th man (in Wednesday’s doubleheader). There’s a lot of different pieces going into this. It seemed like this was the smoothest way we could do it, especially managing the roster.”

Morton will start Thursday in Philadelphia to begin an important four-game series against the Phillies, who’ve surged above .500 and sit second in the NL East. The Braves are 1-5 at Citizens Bank Park this season. After leaving Philadelphia, the Braves will play a five-game series in New York against the first-place Mets, starting with a doubleheader July 26.

If the rotation goes as planned, Morton, Max Fried and Drew Smyly could pitch the final three games in Queens (the contests that will be a full nine innings, rather than the seven-inning doubleheaders). The Braves altered their rotation with those matchups in mind, knowing their coming trip - and this isn’t hyperbole - could determine their season’s fate.

Braves notes:

- Starting pitcher Ian Anderson, sidelined by shoulder inflammation, is feeling better, Snitker said. The Braves haven’t set a date for his return, but it’s encouraging that Anderson avoided structural damage and already is said to be trending upward.

“He’s feeling a lot better, doing his exercises and all that,” Snitker said. “He says everything has calmed down, and he feels a lot better.”

- In other positive news, catcher Travis d’Arnaud (thumb) has made “a lot of progress,” Snitker said. The hope is that d’Arnaud will be back by mid-August.

“We’re going to take him on the road, work him out,” Snitker said. “We’ll get him on the field early on the road. He’s coming along good, actually. He’s swinging with two hands off the tee and things like that. Catching balls off the machines. He’s progressing really well. It just takes time to get his strength and range of motion, all that back. But he’s right where the medical staff thought he’d be right now.”

- Right-hander Huascar Ynoa, nursing a broken wrist, threw a side session Monday and will throw a live batting practice Thursday. He’s still a while away from returning, but he could rejoin the team in late August or early September.

Ynoa, 23, was a breakout star in the early season before his frustrations led to him punching a dugout bench in Milwaukee and sustaining the injury. It’s undecided how he’d be used upon his return, but Ynoa is capable as a starter and reliever, as he’s shown since last season.