On Wednesday, October 2, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Braves ' rookie David Hale will be on the roster for the National League Divisional Series against the Dodgers, starting Thursday.
Veterans Paul Maholm and Kelly Downs--both left-handers-- were left off the roster.
Maholm had struggled for long stretches of the season and had trouble getting through even five innings in many of his second-half starts. The veteran left-hander finished the season 10-11 with an earned run average of 4.41.
Maholm's fastball rarely goes above 87 miles per hour and many hitters are able to adjust to his off-speed pitches and this contributed to the left-hander giving up more hits (169) than innings pitched (154).
Hale, a Georgia native who grew up a Braves fan, showed poise in his two starts and that made an immediate impression on Braves' management.
On September 13, Hale pitched five scoreless innings and struck out nine to set a record for a Braves pitcher in his first game before San Diego rallied against Atlanta's bullpen for a 4-3 win.
The right-hander's fastball has consistently clocked in the low to mid 90' that has movement along with a strong slider reminiscent of former Braves' pitcher and playoff star, John Smoltz.
Hale got the nod after making two spot starts in a September call-up – his first two starts in the big leagues – allowing only one earned run in 11 innings.
“We kept Hale because we felt like he’s a guy that could give us some innings late in the game if you get into one of those crazy 12, 13-inning games,” Gonzalez said. “He’s the one that has stretched out enough that he can give you a long man at the end of the game.”
Gonzalez said that Hale is likely to be used in long relief or if need in extra inning games.
“I was completely surprised,” said Hale, who was still trying to process the decision two hours after being told on Wednesday. “If you told me this was going to happen a month ago, I would have laughed in your face. So, yes this is my wildest dream.”