As the Atlanta Braves readied themselves to attempt to win a series against the always troublesome Milwaukee Brewers, starting pitcher Paul Maholm has had something else on his mind. Maholm’s struggles through most of the season have placed his name firmly on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason pitching rotation. He wants his last start to serve as proof that he should be considered for the fourth rotation spot in the playoffs. That is great for him to have a goal but he doesn’t need to be in the starting rotation for the playoffs.
No matter how well he pitches in his final start, Maholm needs to be a member of the bullpen for the playoffs. There have been a few issues with one or two relief core guys and because of that, Alex Wood has already been sent to the ‘pen to stay for the balance of the postseason. Maholm hasn’t been nearly as effective as Wood has been down the stretch, least of all in the month of August and September, so why would he be put in the postseason rotation?
That does not need to happen. What needs to happen is that Maholm needs to become the fourth lefty available out of the Braves bullpen. If there isn’t room them someone who is struggling and has struggles can get the boot. Maholm is going to be reliable for an inning here or there. He can get lefties out and because he is a starter can get righties out as well, not to mention he could go for more than one inning in an American League setting.
I like his attitude and his determination for improving upon his last few outings but it shouldn’t matter. Maholm best serves the Braves and his own interests by pitching out of the bullpen this postseason. No matter how well he pitches in his final regular season start, other starters have been better and more consistent. The only other one that would fall to the fourth rotational spot is newcomer Freddy Garcia who has been great this month and has a few years of postseason experience. Say hello to the bullpen Maholm. They’ll need you there.