Braves will use six-man rotation in September

caption arrowCaption
Dany Gilbert Kiti Toussaint was born June 20, 1996 in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Toussaint was drafted in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Diamondbacks. Toussaint was the 16th player drafted. Sean Newcomb was the 15th pick, by the Angels. The Braves acquired Toussaint from the D-backs on June 20, 2015. The Braves acquired Toussaint when they agreed to take on pitcher Bronson Arroyo's salary. The Braves gave up Phil Gosselin. Toussaint played for the World team in the Futures game at the 2018 All-Sta

The Braves’ six-man rotation strategy, one they’ve long been reluctant to declare official but implemented nonetheless, will continue during the final month of the regular season.

MLB rosters expand from 25 to 40 players Saturday, and the Braves will add four or five players to the mix before making further additions when Triple-A Gwinnett’s season ends Sept. 3.

Catcher Rene Rivera, reliever Shane Carle, utilityman Ryan Flaherty are expected among the incoming reinforcements, with Brandon McCarthy, who was scheduled to pitch two innings in Gwinnett on Friday night, another possibility.

Starters Touki Toussaint or Bryse Wilson could also be in that group, which is where the six-man rotation comes into play. Each has made one start at the major league level.

“Probably, yeah, with the lack of day off and all that,” Snitker said of using an extra starter. “We’ll have some guys we can do that with.”

The situation will be fluid, allowing the Braves to use a combination of Toussaint, Wilson and Max Fried as the sixth starter, while the others would be available in the bullpen. It would give the regular starters excess rest – a luxury that’s proved beneficial throughout the season – while letting the team evaluate three of its young starters who are competing for long-term roles with the Braves.

The Braves have used 13 starters this season, most in the National League. That group has produced a 3.55 ERA, fifth-best in the majors.

That’s been helped by routine extra rest, when starters have a 3.58 ERA on five days of rest against a 3.70 mark on the standard four. Sean Newcomb has been the poster child of the method, owning a 2.73 ERA in 14 games with five days rest against a 5.61 result on regular time.

“They show you the numbers, and it’s there, it’s good,” Snitker said. There are a lot of things that – the new way of doing things is becoming normal as we experience it. We’ve never done that here before, so it’s worked. It’s been good. I’m open to all the new things, the differences.”

So the Braves will stick with what’s worked, especially with two off-days the rest of the way. When the Braves conclude a weekend series with the Pirates, their schedule will be grueling the rest of the way.

They’ll see two with a current losing record, with one of those series in San Francisco, where the Braves historically haven’t fared well. An expanded rotation has played a significant role in their run to first place, and they’ll hope the improved numbers persist through September.

About the Author

Editors' Picks