The Atlanta Braves will utilize a six-man rotation through the end of the month. As soon as Tommy Hanson is activated from the disabled list for Friday's game, he'll join Tim Hudson, Ben Sheets, Mike Minor, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen in the rotation.
I am a big fan of the decision.
It would be one thing if the Braves had an ace (or two) atop their rotation. For a team such as the Phillies or Tigers, which have elite pitchers at the front of their staff, a six-man rotation would be silly. It forces the team's best starter to only pitch once every six or seven days, delaying him with a vastly inferior option on the mound.
In Atlanta, where there really isn't a ton of separation between any of the starters, it makes all the sense in the world. When you consider the injury concerns that come along with Hudson, Hanson and Sheets, it also gives the club some insurance should someone need to hit the DL.
It allows Medlen to stay in the rotation for a couple more weeks, which he should given his recent success on the mound. Medlen would likely be the man to go to the bullpen if the club opted for a prototypical five-man staff, and it'll allow him to continue proving he belongs.
Once August 30 roles around and the six-man rotation ends -- that's the plan, anyway -- the best, healthiest five pitchers will remain in the rotation. What's better than a little competition during the final few weeks of the season? It keeps the heat on the starter every night to pitch his heart out, or else he may not have a spot in September. It also keeps six pitchers ready to start should an injury arise the way they did last season during the collapse.
Consider me as one person in favor of a six-man rotation. The next few weeks are going to be interesting.
For more on the Braves' rotation plans, check out Talking Chop.