Snitker opts to strart Morton. Oh, and Soler has COVID

10/8/21 - Milwaukee, WI - Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) hit's Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Avisail Garcia (24) in the seventh inning putting on the lead off batter during the  Major League Baseball playoff game between the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewere.  Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

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10/8/21 - Milwaukee, WI - Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) hit's Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Avisail Garcia (24) in the seventh inning putting on the lead off batter during the Major League Baseball playoff game between the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewere. Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

UPDATE: Sometimes the news happens so fast even the Internet can’t keep up. This just in: MLB has announced that Jorge Soler has tested positive for COVID. He has been removed from the Braves’ NLDS roster. Cristian Pache takes his place on the roster. Guillermo Heredia will start Game 4 in center field. Dansby Swanson is now the Braves’ leadoff hitter. Other than that, there’s not much happening.

I’m not the biggest fan of using a starting pitcher on short rest – sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t – but I understand why Brian Snitker is doing it. Charlie Morton on three days’ rest is better than Drew Smyly on 33 days’ rest, although I concede the possibility of using Huascar Ynoa as the starter in today’s Game 4 was tantalizing.

Less tantalizing is the reality: Morton has started 13 postseason games; Ynoa has started 22 big-league games. There’s a reason Snitker picked Morton to open this National League Division Series, even with the great Max Fried at his disposal. This has become Morton’s time of the year. Heck, he won Game 7 of the 2017 World Series for the Astros in 2017. He has been the winner pitcher in four winner-takes-the-series games, he and he alone.

Fried plays into Snitker’s choice. Should Milwaukee win Tuesday, the series would return to Wisconsin for Game 5 on Thursday. Fried would be teed up on full rest. This gives the Braves their best two chances at winning the series. Remember how excruciating it was to lose to St. Louis in the NLDS two years ago with Mike Soroka made only a Game 3 start while Dallas Keuchel worked Games 1 and 4 and Mike Foltynewicz worked Games 2 and 5.

Snitker isn’t repeating that error. (Fool me once …) Again, the worst that can happen is that Morton and Fried start four of these five games, assuming a Game 5 is necessary, which it might not be. It has been 19 innings and four calendar days since the Brewers scored. Their only runs came when Rowdy Tellez ran into one of Morton’s few fat deliveries in an otherwise pristine Game 1.

At this point, it’s fair to wonder if the Brewers could solve Charlie Culberson. (Oh, wait. He’s not a Brave anymore.) If not for one swing, they’d be staring at a shutout series. The Braves did that to the Reds in Round 1 last year, but that lasted only two games. This has been three, and now we’re going on four.

That’s enough for now. Oh, except for this: Joc Pederson also is starting Game 4.

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