When the Atlanta Braves set their roster in advance of Game 1 of the NLDS Friday, there were some surprises. Atlanta elected to go with just 12 pitchers for the best-of-five series but left off both Chris Martin and Richard Rodriguez from the final list.
“I think it’s always tough when you have to bring somebody in that’s helped you get to where you’re going,” Snitker said. “That’s one of the hardest things, whether it’s a position player or a pitcher that doesn’t make the roster. And they’ve helped you get to, like I say, get here.”
“I’m sure they didn’t like it. But, again, it’s more who you’re playing more than what they can or can’t do,” Snitker said of the omissions. “So they’ll both be in play for the next round if we advance.”
Martin has been a key piece of Atlanta’s bullpen over the past few seasons but battled injuries throughout the 2021 campaign. He ended up appearing in 46 games but saw his K-rate drop to from 30.3% in 2020 to 18.2% this season. Rodriguez’s struggles have been well chronicled. Dating back to September 1, he has allowed 14 hits and seven runs, including five homers in just 12 innings. Perhaps more concerning, since joining the Braves he has a total of nine strikeouts in 26 innings.
One of the more surprising names to make the roster was outfielder Terrance Gore who did not spend a day on the Major League roster all season. Gore signed a minor-league deal with the club last offseason and had just 85 plate appearances at Gwinnett where he hit .232/.361/.319. Gore’s value is with his legs and he will give Atlanta a pinch-running option and another late inning defensive replacement for the outfield.
“That’s why Alex hired him and put him in Triple-A,” Snitker said of Gore. “We had two or three different guys over the years that have provided that role. Hopefully we can get somebody on to use him but you like to have that runner if you can. With the 26 guys, we were afforded that luxury.”
Another somewhat less surprising addition was the inclusion of Orlando Arcia who hit just .214/.282/.343 in 78 plate appearances for the Braves this season.
“He had some big hits for us down the stretch there when we were trying to win games,” Snitker said of the decision to carry Arcia. “He’s done a really good job for us. He was good depth, and I admire him that every time we sent him back, he just went back and continued to do well.”
“We asked him to play the outfield. Did a great job at short for us in Triple-A. Played really well here when he had the opportunity, but he’s got some big hits for us the last couple of weeks when we were trying to win this thing.”
Arcia hit .200/.304/.300 with two doubles over 23 plate appearances in September.
The Braves still haven’t announced their pitching plans for a potential Game 4 back in Atlanta. Huascar Ynoa is the odds on favorite to start but could also be used out of the bullpen early in the series. More and more it is looking like some sort of bullpen game is a possibility. Snitker said Friday that Drew Smyly could figure into that mix as well.
“Some length, and I don’t know what route we’re going to go in Game 4,” Snitker said of including Smyly on the roster. “It could be a bullpen game, but Drew’s been throwing the ball really well, too. He’s had some really good outings. And it’s just the matchup with the opponent, pretty much.”