How will the Atlanta Braves manage rest vs. staying sharp down the stretch?

The Atlanta Braves will have to decide how agressive they want to pursure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Brian Snitker could also choose to rest players to make sure his squad is at 100% entering the postseason.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves clinched their sixth consecutive NL East title on Wednesday. Now what? It is pretty typical to see teams start resting players in preparation for the playoffs once they have claimed the top of their division. However, Brian Snitker will have a tougher time making these decisions in 2023. Here is why: 

1. There’s a lot of Baseball to go

The Braves clinched the division much earlier than any other team in the MLB. Atlanta still has 16 games remaining on the schedule before the regular season comes to a close. Many of the players on the Braves roster take pride in playing every day. For example, Ronald Acuna and Matt Olson have played every single game this season.

Atlanta has a weaker schedule to finish the season which could play a factor in Snitker resting players more. However, he will have to find the fine line between resting and preparing for playoff baseball. Baseball is a sport where players can easily become rusty if not given reputations. In addition to this, the accomplishments Atlanta wants to achieve in 2023 are not complete. 

2. Braves Want Home Field Advantage in October

Atlanta has potential to clinch home field advantage throughout the postseason, including the World Series if they make it that far. It is a simple recipe for this to be the case. The Braves need to win while the Orioles and Dodgers lose. 

The Dodgers are the second best team in the National League while the Orioles are the second best team in baseball. The more Atlanta can separate themselves from these two teams, the better because we’ve seen how electric Truist Park can be in October. 

3. History

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of a MLB season is to win the World Series. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t take time to recognize historic accomplishments from the regular season. The Atlanta Braves have had plenty of them already but have even more up for grabs. 

Matt Olson has a chance to reach 60 homeruns on the season, Ronald Acuna is knocking on the door of a 40+ HR, 100+ RBI, 70 SB season which has never been done and have an outside shot of having four players hit the 40 homerun mark. 

The only way for these milestones to be reached is for these players to be in the lineup. There are most certainly two sides to this argument. On one hand, it could help carry momentum into this postseason. On the other hand, the Braves have their sights set on another championship and may not be prioritizing regular season games with the division already won. 

It is a delicate balance between getting rest and staying sharp. However, if there was ever a team to balance that, and a manager to guide it, this certainly feels like the group.