The new playoff format involving the wild card position is making things interesting this postseason. By the end of play tonight, either the St. Louis Cardinals or Atlanta Braves will host the Washington Nationals in the first round, and the winner of the Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers game will host the New York Yankees. For the play-in game, each of the four teams will have a completely different roster than the one they would use in the divisional round, as Major League Baseball saw that there would be no need for five starters on the roster for this game.
Earlier today, the Atlanta Braves announced their roster and lineup, with some notable players excluded and other interesting tidbits.
Catchers (3): J.C. Boscan, Brian McCann, David Ross
Braves' Manager Fredi Gonzalez felt the need to bring three catchers for the game, with Ross serving as the starter for Medlen, keeping McCann on the bench. While Teddy Cahill from MLB.com believes that this will allow Gonzalez to make better use of McCann as a pinch hitter, I think it is the wrong move. McCann didn't produce the type of performance Atlanta fans are used to and has struggled for most of the season, but I think Ross would be a better player off the bench. But if the team was looking to have another good lefty to pinch hit, they could have included Juan Francisco on the roster as well. Not to mention, the Braves will already have Hinske and Overbay to come off the bench from the left side of the plate, so realistically, I don't see the need for all of them to be there.
One can't argue with the bullpen. Gonzalez picked the three starters I would have expected him to. With Medlen starting, the team can use Hudson or Minor -- both of whom have been red-hot lately -- if the game goes past nine innings or if something unpredictable happens to Medlen. If asked on opening day which three pitchers would be brought on in this situation, I would have expected just Hudson to have made the cut, along with Tommy Hanson and even Jair Jurrjens. What Medlen and Minor have done in the second half have made Atlanta favorites to advance past this game, which is something that always makes me nervous.
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Jason Heyward, RF
4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
6. Dan Uggla, 2B
7. David Ross, C
8. Andrelton Simmons, SS
9. Kris Medlen, P
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.