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Atlanta Braves shift gears :Sean Newcomb starts Sunday

Atlanta Braves

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 05: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Atlanta Braves delivers the pitch during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 5, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Down by two games and facing an early exit, the Atlanta Braves change their starter and rejig the lineup prior to Sunday’s NLDS game three.

Prior to the start of the NLDS, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker announced a rotation including Kevin Gausman as the starter for game three.  Since then the Braves lost two games to the Dodgers without putting up much of a fight.

Through the first two games of the NLDS, the Braves managed ten base runners off nine hits – eight singles and a double – and one hit batsman; Dodger pitching has yet to yield a walk.

Many feared the Atlanta Braves bullpen might collapse and lead to defeat. In fact, the bullpen – bolstered by Touki Toussaint, Sean Newcomb and Max Fried – allowed just two runs on two hits in 7-1/3 IP.

Mike Foltynewicz had a rough two innings and while Anibal Sanchez wasn’t pristine – three runs in 4 2/3 IP – he could have thrown a shutout and still not won the game. Odd fact, if your team doesn’t score pitchers are just out of luck.

Now pitching… Sean Newcomb

On Saturday afternoon, Brian Snitker announced that Sean Newcomb starts Sunday’s game and Kevin Gausman slides into the pen with everyone except Mike Foltynewicz.

LA’s lineup isn’t as deep against lefties. Had Newcomb been pitching well Fried been healthy long enough to grab a spot, we might have seen those two used in a similar manner as Bruce Bochy used Barry Zito against Detroit.

Instead, we are where we are, hoping Newcomb can find his July 29 form for at least six innings – five strong would do and I expect Snitker to have a quick hook. It is, after all:  win or go home.

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