Braves will use Marcell Ozuna as the DH in wild-card series

The Braves are preparing to host the Reds in a best-of-three wild-card series at Truist Park beginning at noon Wednesday.

Lefty Max Fried will oppose Reds ace and potential Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer in Game 1. Rookie Ian Anderson will face strikeout-artist Luis Castillo in Game 2. A deciding Game 3 would be a Vanderbilt affair between Kyle Wright and Sonny Gray.

Topics manager Brian Snitker covered Wednesday morning, three hours before first pitch:

- Slugger Marcell Ozuna will be strictly a designated hitter in the series, Snitker said. Ozuna assembled the best regular season of his career, hitting .338 and leading the NL with 18 homers and 56 RBIs.

This will be Ozuna’s second time (third series) in the postseason. His first October experience was last season, when he went 9-for-21 (.429) with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs in the 2019 NLDS, helping the Cardinals knock off the Braves. He went 3-for-16 in the NLCS, in which St. Louis was swept by Washington.

- “The guys that were banged up a little bit are good to go,” Snitker said, praising the team’s praising staff. That includes the trio of outfielder Ronald Acuna, third baseman Austin Riley and reliever Chris Martin.

- MLB will transition back to normal extra-inning rules in the postseason, meaning there won’t be a runner placed at second to begin each inning. Snitker believes you haven’t seen the last of the controversial rule, however.

“I don’t think so,” Snitker said. “I’ve talked to other managers and I think everybody kind of likes that. ... I think it’s actually a lot better than I thought it was going to be. There is still strategy in it. I’m still not sure what’s the right or wrong way to do it, but it’s sure fun trying. I kind of like it. I’m not so sure it won’t stay.”