Freddy Garcia made his final case Tuesday for the Braves' fourth postseason rotation spot, and Paul Maholm will get his shot on Wednesday in the series finale against the Brewers.
Garcia allowed two earned runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings in the Braves' 3-2 walk-off win on Tuesday, and he seems to have the edge over Maholm heading into postseason play. Garcia has upped his performance since he was acquired in a trade from the Orioles last month, while Maholm has fluttered since a hot start to open the season.
The 31-year-old left-hander started the season with 25 1/3 scoreless innings in his first four starts, but he has posted a 5.19 ERA in 21 starts since. Maholm is 1-0 with a 4.96 ERA in three September starts, but he gave up two home runs and took a no-decision in a win over the Cubs on Friday, and he has been pitching through some elbow discomfort that prompted the Braves to skip his spot in the rotation the week before.
Maholm said his arm felt good after last Friday's 9-5 win at Wrigley Field.
"I made a couple bad pitches for the home runs," Maholm said. "It just seemed like later in the game, the pitches just didn't seem to be the same. I don't know if that was influenced by not pitching for 12 days. My arm felt good."
Not only will Maholm be pitching for his personal postseason fate, but he will also have a chance to alter the National League East champion Braves' playoff situation. Atlanta enters Wednesday with a half-game lead on the Cardinals for home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse will try to help his team play spoiler and take the three-game series, while earning some money of his own. All Lohse needs is one out to earn $350,000, an annual incentive in his three-year, $33 million contract for reaching 190 innings pitched.
"If I do my job all year, that's a level of innings I should get," said Lohse, who missed out on a September start when the Brewers moved to a six-man rotation. "It hasn't been a major concern. It's not a benchmark I'm shooting for because of incentives. I would have liked to get to 200 [innings], and I know if I would have had the extra start, I would have. But there are more important things, like getting to see some of the young guys."
In 31 starts this season, spanning a team-high 189 2/3 innings pitched, Lohse is 10-10 with a 3.51 ERA.
Braves: McCann back in lineup after seeing the birth of his second child
Braves catcher Brian McCann was back in the lineup Monday after missing Monday's game to be with his wife, Ashley, for the birth of the couple's second child.
McCann, who is hitting .259 on the season with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs, went hitless in three at-bats but did walk in the fifth inning.
The 29-year-old catcher entered Tuesday with a four-game hitting streak and a .196 average in September.
• Third baseman Chris Johnson was given the night off Tuesday for just the fourth time since June 12, and Braves manager Fredie Gonzalez plans to give Jason Heyward the day off Wednesday and Andrelton Simmons a day off sometime this week in preparation for the playoffs.
Brewers: Top prospect Nelson to replace Peralta in rotation
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced Tuesday that Jimmy Nelson will take Wily Peralta's turn in the rotation on Saturday against the Mets in part because of a blister on Peralta's right index finger that resurfaced in his last start.
"It's not just the blister," Roenicke said. "[Peralta is] in a really good spot now with the workload that he's had this year [183 1/3 innings], and we think where he is with his innings and now this coming up, it's a good time for him to go ahead and -- I don't want to say shut it down, because I don't want him shutting it down -- but it's a good time to put somebody else in there."
Nelson, the Brewers' top prospect according to MLB.com, will make his first Major League start unless he is used in emergency relief prior to Saturday. The 24-year-old right-hander has not started a game since Aug. 31 when he was with Triple-A Nashville, but he has thrown five scoreless innings in three appearances out of the Brewers' bullpen in September.
• Left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny will not pitch again for the Brewers this season due to shoulder discomfort. Gorzelanny has not pitched since Sept. 2 because of the shoulder issues, and he finished with a 3-6 record and 3.90 ERA in 33 relief appearances and 10 starts.
• Atlanta has a losing record against three National League teams this season: the Padres, the Giants and the Brewers. Milwaukee has a 3-2 lead in the season series entering Wednesday. The Phillies can also finish with a winning record against the Braves with a series win this weekend.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.