Atlanta Braves face 58 Games in 60 Days: Six-man rotation required
Recent history tells us we might get six innings from our starters every game down the stretch. Yes, I know: hard to believe but true. If starters don’t go at least six, bullpen arms could be taxed in a similar fashion as – or worse than – the starters.
Newly acquired righty Brad Brach threw 68+ innings last season and 79 the year before. He’s unlikely to see enough inning to make that an issue down the stretch. Likewise, Carle and Jackson are still within historical limits.
Biddle reached his historic high during his last outing and enters uncharted territory every game from now forward. Winkler last threw more than 15 innings in 2014, which might explain his drop-off in efficiency over the past six weeks.
Closer A.J Minter’s previous high inning count – 34 – came in 2016 spread across A, A+and AA ball and Braves fans know every inning Venters throws is a new record for his current UCL.
As a result, we may see some of Gwinnett’s finest visiting in August with Gohara head of the list.
Give Luke a break
Luke Jackson gets a bad rap from many fans. Historically he’s earned that. But since returning to Atlanta on June 5, he’s done very good work.
In 19-2/3 innings over 15 games he struck out 26, walked 9 and held batters to a .216/.306/.378/.684 line while posting a 3.66 ERA. His ERA jumped a run over two outings where he allowed 2 runs; otherwise he’s been one of the best arms out there.
I had people asking why we didn’t try to trade for Mychal Givens. The answer is simple, Givens isn’t better than Jackson. In his last 15 games for Baltimore, Givens threw 14-1/3 innings struck out 13 and walked eight. Batters hit to a .298/.379/.421/.800 line as Givens posted a 6.91 ERA.
Jackson isn’t perfect but he’s currently better than many we’ve had and many who were held up as trade targets.
That’s a wrap
The next stretch of games presents a test for the Braves young players. The season’s longer than most seasons they’ve played in the past and may drain them physically and mentally.
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It’s time for our pitching staff to assert itself. Folty needs to get into the seventh consistently. That means throwing strikes and retaining focus.
Newcomb needs to remember what he did while making a talented Dodger lineup look very bad. It had to do with pounding the zone and pitching ahead. That worked well; do that some more.
Julio . . . I wish I knew what to say about him. We need good Julio, not “39 pitches in the first before he remembers the game is underway Julio”. I don’t expect it but it’s what he needs to do to remain a starter and possibly a Brave.
Gausman needs to show the stuff that made Billy Ripken wonder how anyone hit his pitches. Forget whatever McDowell told you, Kevin; obviously he made things worse. Revert to 2016 Kevin and kick some butt.
None of that works unless the lineup delivers run support. The schedule’s tough; the Atlanta Braves need to be tougher.