Saturday night, the Atlanta Braves will attempt to take a commanding 3-1 lead against the Houston Astros in the 2021 World Series. The Braves will give the ball to a rookie. Lefty Dylan Lee will start Game 4 as an opener, the Braves announced Saturday. Game 4 is a planned bullpen game and Lee will the first of many Atlanta pitchers.
“It’s going to be an opener,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters following Game 3 when asked whether he had a starter for Game 4 lined up yet. “… I was all about winning today, and we’ll deal with tomorrow tomorrow. It is, we’re going to have to use a lot of the other guys, and that’s just — hopefully, we score more runs.”
Lee, 27, signed with the Braves in April after being released by the NL East rival Marlins during spring training. He made his MLB debut on Oct. 1, in Game 159 of the season, and he made the postseason roster despite throwing only two regular season innings. Lee faced three batters in Game 2 of the World Series earlier this week.
Game 4 will be Lee’s first start since way back in 2017, when he was in Low Class-A with the Marlins. He threw two innings and a season high 38 pitches in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Dodgers, so the best case scenario in Game 4 seems to be one turn through the lineup. Lee very well might be a true one-inning opener.
Righty Kyle Wright and lefties Drew Smyly and Tucker Davidson are on the World Series roster and capable of giving Atlanta some length as bulk relievers, and at least one of them figures to appear in Game 4. Smyly is the veteran of the bunch he threw 3 1/3 innings behind an opener in NLCS Game 4 against Los Angeles.
Charlie Morton’s injury means the Braves will also employ a bullpen game in Game 5. Depending how he fares in Game 4, Lee could be asked to start Game 5 as well.