Braves, in playoff-prep mode, host Mets

National Sports

The Atlanta Braves will continue to give their starters time off now that they’ve clinched their spot in the postseason. On Saturday, when they host the New York Mets in the season’s penultimate game, they’ll take it a step farther and use a bullpen game.

The Braves will start Jesse Chavez (3-2, 2.27 ERA) in the second contest of the three-game series against New York’s Carlos Carrasco (1-4, 5.73).

It will be the third straight game as an opener for Chavez. He worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings in both a Sept. 21 start at Arizona and last Sunday at San Diego.

“We’ve kind of got it all planned out for the next couple days,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Probably get all the guys back in there on Sunday, but if we can give some bullpen guys a break and let guys give their minds a rest and come to the ballpark and do everything we can to get everybody refreshed. Then we have four days off.”

The Braves (86-73) rested several regulars on Friday — first baseman Freddie Freeman, shortstop Dansby Swanson, outfielders Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley, who started at first base on Friday, are expected to get a night off on Saturday.

The Mets (77-83) lead the season series with Atlanta 9-8 after Friday’s 4-3 win.

Carrasco’s main problem has been getting past the first inning. He has allowed 18 runs in the first inning of his 11 starts, equating to a 14.73 ERA. He has a 3.11 ERA in all subsequent innings. Eight of his 10 homers allowed have come in the first inning.

In his most recent start last Sunday, he gave up five runs on seven hits in four innings. It was his shortest start since working just two innings on Aug. 15.

Carrasco has made only one career appearance against the Braves. He threw two perfect innings against Atlanta on Aug. 27, 2013, when he was a member of the Cleveland Indians.

New York has used the final few weeks of the season to determine the future of the different players.

“Anytime you finish a season, what you really have to do is reevaluate each player and try to decide who they really are,” Mets president Sandy Alderson said. “That would be true in a season where the player underperforms. It might be in a season in which a player over performs.”

Atlanta called up a couple of rookies on Friday and both got into the game. Right-hander Spencer Strider, who began the season in Class Low-A Augusta and ended it at Triple-A Gwinnett, and Dylan Lee, a left-hander who spent the season in Gwinnett, both pitched an inning.

Strider, who throws 100 mph-plus and had 153 strikeouts in 94 combined innings, allowed a home run, and Lee worked a scoreless inning in their debuts. Either could be considered for the postseason roster, depending on how many pitchers the team opts to carry.

–Field Level Media

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