I assume I was aware of this when the new playoff formats were announced, but if so I totally forgot about it. From Buster Olney:
The wild-card games will be conducted under circumstances we’ve never seen before in the postseason. The participating teams will set 25-man rosters for this one-game, winner-take-all extravaganza — rosters that don’t have to carry over to the Division series matchup. So the Braves and the other wild-card entrants don’t have to carry multiple starting pitchers.
Just more distortion from a setup that already distorts all that is important in baseball: depth, stamina and the ability to win a majority of games as opposed to EVERY GAME MATTERING like it does in other sports.
It’s quite possible that we’ll have a wild card games with starters going three innings, followed by seven relievers used over the course of the next six innings with every quasi-critical situation leading to some matchup-optimizing pitching change. All of the anti-excitement of an All-Star Game except the outcome matters way more.
Why on earth are the rules this way? If the wild card game is the playoffs, why aren’t teams required to use their postseason rosters? This makes zero sense to me and just underscores how contrived the play-in game is.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.