The Braves will try to clinch the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals starting at 3 PM Eastern this afternoon. They’ll do it with a pitcher going on three-days’ rest: Game 1 starter Dallas Keuchel.
There are likely a couple of reasons behind the move. One reason is that the original, sketched-in-pencil plan for Game 4 was to, possibly at least, have Max Fried start. Fried was used in relief in all three games of the series so far, however. He was lights out in the first two appearances in that role and the Braves probably want to keep up with that for the time being.
Another reason is the composition of the Braves current staff. A Game 1 injury to reliever Chris Martin led the team to put Julio Teherán on the roster. Teherán is not an ideal relief candidate — he hasn’t fared well in opening innings in many of his starts — but the Braves likely think he could be useful in long relief, and will likely piggyback him with Keuchel if Keuchel proves ineffective early today.
Finally, Keuchel only threw 4.1 innings in Game 1 on Thursday, tossing only 74 pitches, so it’s not like he’s super spent. It’s a gamble to start any guy on short rest, but it’s hard to see how using Keuchel is less of a gamble that either starting Teheran or by pressing Fried into service for the fourth straight game.
Guess we’ll see if the gamble pays off this afternoon.