Throughout this season, Brian Snitker has made a point of emphasizing a one-day-at-a-time methodology, but even he has had to admit that there’s a lot of excitement to come in the series this weekend against the New York Mets. Snitker and the Braves expect a playoff atmosphere for Friday night’s series opener against the Mets and Jacob deGrom.
“Yeah, it’s fun. Honestly when we started this thing and you looked at the schedule and thought it might come down to this,” Snitker said.
“We knew they were going to be a very good club,” he added. “They did a lot of things in the offseason. They got a lot of their guys back. They showed their organizational depth. It’s a good club and we knew when we started it would be a tough division.
The Mets have led the division essentially from the start. The Braves have been ruled dead multiple times, but found a way out of the hole and back into the running. Things looked bleak when the Mets took four of Atlanta’s five in early August. True to form, the Braves came back a week later and won three of four at Truist Park, including a win over deGrom.
Asked about his team’s resilience, Snitker pointed to his experience in big situations. For the most part, this core group has been in the playoffs for four straight seasons and is coming off last season’s World Series. They have proven time and time again that the moment is not too big for them.
“I think that’s exactly it. They are used to these situations,” Snitker said. “They are used to stressful matches. They are used to having to win. They’ve been through just about anything you can go through I think, so that’s still good.
The Braves have little room for error this weekend in terms of their divisional run, but their playoff spot is already assured. Still, Snitker said the goal has always been to win the division and that remains the case.
“You want to win the division, I think you’d like to have those dead days to set everything up,” Snitker said. “But otherwise, I like the fact that we’re in the game. We’re going to give ourselves a chance to do something special again. When we leave spring training every year our number one goal is to win the division and that’s still the case right now.
Michael Harris third again
Rookie outfielder Michael Harris is third in the batting order for the second straight game. Asked about the decision, Snitker said having Harris in third place helped balance the line-up.
“I like him going up. It balances out our roster a bit,” Snitker said. TO DO. I kinda like how it lengthens our lineup even more when he’s up there.
Spencer Strider, who is currently on the injured list with a sore oblique muscle, still hasn’t returned to throwing and Snitker said they likely won’t have a schedule for him until that happens.
“He hasn’t pitched yet,” Snitker said. “I was in the weight room with him earlier and he was doing all the exercises and stuff like that, but he hasn’t pitched yet. They just want to make sure before he starts, and they don’t don’t know what to expect when it starts to come in.
“He feels great and said he felt much better today than yesterday,” Snitker added. “I think they’re just going to wait until the very last minute before they start throwing it. I don’t think you’ll know until he does that.
Ahead of Friday’s game, Ozzie Albies practiced on the court taking balls on the ground with a new, smaller cast on his right hand. Snitker said he would be in that cast for about a week and then they would reassess.
“He got a new one the other day for another week,” Snitker said of Albies. “I don’t know if we will know anything until he actually comes out and where he is. They x-rayed him and everything looked fine. He stays fit as best he can and does everything he can.