If the Braves advance to the Division Series, the first two games would be day games at Turner Field on Sunday (3:07 p.m.) and Monday (4:37 p.m.).
Major League Baseball announced starting times for division series games in both leagues through Tuesday. The Braves and Cardinals will play the National League Wild Card game today at Turner Field at 5:07 p.m., with the winner advancing to face the Washington Nationals in a Division Series.
The best-of-five division series for this year only will follow a 2-3 format, with home-field advantage translating to the final three games (if the series goes the full five) being played in Washington. In the future, baseball plans to go back to the 2-2-1 format and start the series in the city of the team with home-field advantage.
The Braves announced their 25-man roster for tonight’s game, which includes nine pitchers and 16 position players.
Pitchers include left-handers Luis Avilan, Eric O’Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Mike Minor, and right-handers Chad Durbin, Cory Gearrin, closer Craig Kimbrel, Tim Hudson and tonight’s starter Kris Medlen. Hudson would be the emergency starter, and Minor, another starter, is on the roster in case the game goes deep into extra innings. Hudson and Minor are expected to start the first two games of the division series if the Braves advance.
Among the relievers left off the roster were Peter Moylan and Cristhian Martinez.
“Carrying Medlen, and then two starting pitchers with Huddy and Minor, we felt like we had enough innings covered, knock on wood, in the back end of the game,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Both will remain with the team and be in the dugout in uniform in case they are needed in the next round. Gonzalez said both Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado headed home to rest and re-group before pitching in winter ball in the Dominican Republic, starting Oct. 14.
Gonzalez said he chose Hinske’s experience over Francisco when it came to another left-handed bat off the bench. Francisco had been used only sparingly in recent weeks, going 3-for-26 with 15 strikeouts in the Braves past 34 games.
“With Hinske being a little (more) experienced in that spot, and having (Brian) McCann on the bench with the left‑handed bat kind of gave us that option of carrying Eric instead of Francisco,” Gonzalez said.
Outfielder Matt Diaz planned to rejoin the Braves in the dugout for Friday’s game. He has been away from the team in recent weeks recovering from season-ending thumb surgery. Ben Sheets, who was not in the Braves postseason plans, returned home to Louisiana to spend time with his children. Sheets, 34, announced earlier this week that his one-inning start on Wednesday against the Pirates would be his last before heading into retirement.