The Atlanta Braves announced on Wednesday morning that they will start right-hander Bryce Elder in Game 3 of their National League Division Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves had waited longer than usual to announce Elder, though he was the most obvious candidate on the roster all along, with only rookie right-hander AJ Smith-Shawver serving as an alternative option. (The Braves are without veteran right-hander Charlie Morton, whose injured-list stint for finger inflammation did not allow him to be activated in time to be placed on the NLDS roster.)
Elder, 24, made the All-Star Game this summer as part of his first full season. Overall, he started 31 times and amassed a 3.81 ERA (116 ERA+) and a 2.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Elder did struggle mightily in the second half, and from Aug. 1 onward he compiled a 5.26 ERA and a 1.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his final 10 starts. There's no telling which version of Elder will show up on Wednesday night.
It's perhaps worth noting that Elder faced the Phillies twice during the regular season. In those appearances, he combined to surrender four runs on six hits over 10 2/3 innings. Of course, that's an extremely small sample and, though it is descriptive, it should not be taken as predictive.
Elder will be opposed on Wednesday by Phillies right-hander and impending free agent Aaron Nola. In 32 regular season outings, Nola posted a 4.46 ERA (96 ERA+) and a 4.49 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Braves and Phillies entered Wednesday even at 1-1 in the best-of-five series. The Braves scored a furious comeback victory in Game 2. This series is a rematch of the NLDS from last fall. The Phillies won that set in four games.