After Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, the Atlanta Braves will head west for the first of two road trips that will close out the final month of the season. The Braves will begin a three-game series in Los Angeles Monday against the World Champion Dodgers and will wrap up the trip with a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
Ian Anderson is slated to return to the rotation for Sunday’s series finale against the Giants. A healthy Anderson will be a significant boost to a rotation that has by and large pitched well during the Braves’ recent surge to the top of the NL East standings.
“I’m hoping that when we get back this time, he does the same thing that he did last year when we brought him up,” Snitker said of Anderson’s return. “He had a couple of really good outings so, at some point in time we have got to get him back in the mix. He feels good, he’s been stretched out and we’ll be excited to get him back out there.”
Anderson has made 18 starts this season and has a 3.56 ERA and a 3.60 FIP in 96 innings. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his final start before the All-Star break and was later placed on the injured list due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Six-man rotation a possibility
Atlanta will have to make a roster move Sunday to activate Anderson and will presumedly have six starters on the roster. Snitker has said over the last week that the team could go with a six-man rotation during the upcoming road trip but he was noncommittal Saturday saying only that it was a possibility that they have talked about.
“We’ll just see. With the lack of off days, we have the ability to do that,” Snitker said when asked about a possible six-man rotation. “Whether or not we will I don’t know.”
If the Braves were to stick with a normal rotation, then it appears that Touki Toussaint would be the odd man out. It isn’t clear what the corresponding move will be when Anderson is activated Sunday but on paper, Josh Tomlin or Jesse Chavez look like options. Toussaint could potentially fill that multiple inning relief role if needed.
“Probably keep him in the pen,” Snitker said of what they would do with Toussaint if they opted not to use a six-man rotation. “He would be the option obviously to pop in there and that’s what we talked about doing down the road. He’s not going to be away from starting so long that he couldn’t go out there and throw seven innings.”
That last sentence could be a clue that going with six starters on this trip is the likely scenario, but Snitker isn’t ready to diverge where Toussaint might drop into the mix.
Eddie Rosario’s role
The Braves activated outfielder Eddie Rosario from the injured list on Friday but he didn’t play. Snitker said that for now, Rosario will be utilized off the bench.
“He’s on our bench right now. I’m focused, we’re focused right now on winning games and not any individual,” Snitker answered when asked about Rosario’s role. “He’ll work in wherever he works in. There’s not a plan to just because he’s here. He’ll come off the bench, he’ll be available. Last time I looked those two corner outfielders we have are doing pretty good.”
The Braves remade their outfield for the second half with the additions of Rosario, Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler. Rosario was on the injured list at the time of the trade due to an abdominal strain. The additions, along with reliever Richard Rodriguez have paid immediate dividends for Atlanta.
Pederson is hitting .254/.341/.421 with four homers and a 107 wRC+ in 127 plate appearances. Duvall is hitting .207/.310/.460 with six homers and a 103 wRC+ in 100 plate appearances. Soler has hit .274/.398/.524 with six homers and a 146 wRC+ in 104 plate appearances.