Fredi Gonzalez is prepping the Braves for a playoff series for the first time since taking over as manager in 2011.
With that being said, seems safe to assume the plan is to go Medlen (Game 1) Minor (Game 2) and Teheran (Game 3). #Braves— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) September 24, 2013
That's quite the turnaround for Medlen, who some thought was headed to bullpen two months ago. With a 1.29 ERA and 1.83 FIP in September, he is certainly deserving. Add in the fact that he does have a bit of postseason experience from last year's Stupid Game and there's really no further discussion needed.
Mike Minor is scheduled to pitch Game 2. Minor has really struggled the past month or so, though he's still got the best FIP (3.39) of the big three. This leaves rookie Julio Teheran to pitch Game 3. I worry about Julio making his playoff debut in a hostile road environment, but I guess he's gotta do it sometime.
As for Game 4, it seems as if Freddy Garcia is on pace to start, though a lot could be determined on Wednesday night as Paul Maholm makes his final start of the season. Even with all of his struggles in Baltimore earlier in the season, Garcia has pitched really well since coming up last month and was impressive against a pretty mediocre Brewers lineup last night.
Alex Wood was sent to the bullpen earlier this week and has already begun working against lefties. It was a bit of a surprise, but given that he can really impact three or four games out of the 'pen instead of just one as a starter, it makes some sense. If the bases are loaded in the 8th inning with the Braves up one, would you rather Scott Downs or Alex Wood face Joey Votto? I know Wood's got my vote.
And if for some reason Garcia or Maholm get shelled in Game 4 and the Braves still move on to the NLCS, it's not like Wood couldn't become a starter again.
The NLDS is scheduled to begin Thursday, Oct. 3.