Braves changing the way they handle layoff before Division Series

Braves players celebrate their win at Truist Park, Thursday, September 28, 2023, in Atlanta. Atlanta Braves won 5-3 over Chicago Cubs. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Braves players celebrate their win at Truist Park, Thursday, September 28, 2023, in Atlanta. Atlanta Braves won 5-3 over Chicago Cubs. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

The Braves are altering how they handle the five-day layoff between their regular-season finale and Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

The interesting question seems to be this: How did the Braves evaluate this and attempt to gain certainty when they’ve had only one year of experience with this postseason format?

“Well, that was it,” manager Brian Snitker said Friday. “It was a new thing last year. We didn’t really know what to do, or how to do it. Nobody had ever done that before. We thought we did an OK job, the best we could. And then you get feedback from the players, too: What do you guys think, now that you’ve got a year under your belt? We started talking as a staff and with the players and kind of figured we could probably do something better to make it more engaging for everybody. So we’ll see how it works this time around.”

They came up with this: They’ll hold intrasquad scrimmages in front of fans on Oct. 3-5. They’ll play these games ahead of Oct. 6, which is their official workout day before the series.

It’s not that the Braves didn’t prepare for last year’s postseason. There’s no way to pinpoint the effect of their workouts on the outcome. The postseason, as you know, can be weird and random.

But this time, they’re trying something different.

Will they play hard? Will they keep it casual?

“Use common sense,” Snitker said of the club’s thinking on this.

But the Braves are trying to make next week as normal as possible. For one, they opened the workouts to fans, which should provide a decent environment. (This is free for fans.) And again, they’ll play games.

Last year, players hit and worked out. It turned out this wasn’t enough because it’s difficult not to see velocity, then immediately jump into a postseason series. The scrimmages also will help players keep their bodies conditioned.

And the three days should provide a fun experience for fans.

“I think we’re going to be surprised at how many people show up for this thing,” Snitker said.

Extra rest for Elder

The Braves listed a “TBA” for Sunday’s regular-season finale, which means Bryce Elder’s regular season is over.

“It’s just been a long year, so we just decided to give him a little (rest),” Snitker said.

This season, Elder has thrown a career-high 174-2/3 innings. Elder, an All-Star, finishes the season with a 3.81 ERA over 31 starts.

The next thing to monitor is his role this postseason.

3 to go

The Braves have clinched their division and home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason.

This final series simply is about keeping everyone healthy.

Michael Harris II and Orlando Arcia weren’t in Friday’s lineup against the Nationals. Forrest Wall was in center field for Harris, while Nicky Lopez was at shortstop for Arcia.

Snitker was giving Harris and Arcia a breather. He said he’ll “probably” give others rest throughout the weekend.

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