The Atlanta Braves aren’t playing around with their Sunday spring training lineup.
Brian Snitker is giving fans just a taste of what regular season baseball might look like, even if it only lasts a few delicate innings. Atlanta’s spring storylines primarily revolve around the centerfield and fifth starter battles — with Ender Inciarte and Cristian Pache fighting it out for the former, and Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright making their play for the final spot in the Braves rotation given Mike Soroka’s injury. For the regulars, spring is the same as it’s always been — an opportunity to start anew, and prepare themselves for the sometimes exhausting 162-game slate.
With that in mind, the Braves are giving one version of their lineup a dry run. For the fans, it’s an exciting measure and a reason to watch an exhibition game.
Will this Braves lineup be the same on they roll out on Opening Day?
It’s impossible to say what, exactly, Snitker is thinking, but the top half at the very least should be cemented at this point. Where it gets tricky is the likes of Pache, Lamb and Riley. For one, the NL doesn’t have a designated hitter, so you can cross Lamb out. And as previously mentioned, Pache is still battling it out with Inciarte for the starting job in center.
Riley seems like a definite to play third assuming the Braves don’t make an addition before then. The rumors of a Kris Bryant trade have dissipated for now. But where will Riley hit in the everyday lineup? That remains a question.
It’s not unusual for managers to try out a potential Opening Day starting nine during spring training. Max Fried will be taking the bump (assuming he’s healthy) come April 8, but in some ways Charlie Morton provides more excitement in a spring training start since he’s a new addition to the rotation.
Get ready, Braves fans. There’s plenty of reasons to watch Sunday’s tilt against the Red Sox.