When Game 4 of the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers arrives, people are going to be wondering exactly who will be the starting pitcher for the Braves. With the injury to Tim Hudson, the loss of Brandon Beachy and the late struggles of Paul Maholm, the Braves have been using young left-hander Alex Wood and boy has he excelled.
Even though he’s posted a 3.54 ERA as a starter this season, he’s posted a much better 2.08 ERA and a reliever, and the front office in Atlanta has decided he’d be a more valuable asset out of the pen than as a starter. So what this means is the Braves are expecting to start Freddy Garcia for Game 4 of the NLDS. Garcia was picked up just a few weeks back for cash considerations and in three starts with the Braves, he’s done outstanding, pitching 27.1 innings with a 1.65 ERA. These numbers shouldn’t be considered though, Garcia has nearly 2200 IP in the big leagues and his career ERA is 4.54.
The Braves will consider David Hale, a prospect recently brought up by the organization in the final weeks of the season. In two starts, he did very well, giving up one earned run in 11 IP with a 1.091 WHIP. Personally, I’d rather see the wild card Hale up there on the front lines than the confirmed subpar pitcher that Garcia is.
If the Braves insist on starting Garcia for Game 4, Fredi Gonzalez needs to go into the game prepared to pull Garcia at any moment, even the first inning. Game 4 will be a must win in order to either stay alive or avoid Clayton Kershaw and if the Braves have to burn every arm in the bullpen. then they better do it.