The Atlanta Braves skipped Drew Smyly: other changes coming?

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher (?) Drew Smyly. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher (?) Drew Smyly. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Drew Smyly — leaving a game. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The extra off-days this week allowed the Atlanta Braves’ rotation and bullpen to rest, but it appears that additional changes are in works.

The last start that Drew Smyly made for the Atlanta Braves was a week ago:  Saturday, August 21st.  His next start… is uncertain, at best.

With normal turns, his spot would have come up again tonight, though the next three starts appear to belong to Huascar Ynoa, Ian Anderson, and Touki Toussaint.

Beyond that, ESPN’s schedule has an odd arrangement penciled in on their schedule page (source of their information is unknown, so take this for what it’s worth):

  • Monday in Los Angeles:  Touki Toussaint
  • Tuesday:  no pitcher listed*
  • Wed and following:  Morton, Fried, Smyly, Anderson, Toussaint (which makes little sense)

*What’s more likely is that Morton should face Max Scherzer on Tuesday, and then use Max Fried for the Dodger finale on September 1st… and then we’d see how things progress from there.

The real point here:  Drew Smyly is being set aside for at least one full turn out of the rotation.

That’s probably a good thing.

Smyly’s Struggles

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to define a pitcher’s “Quality Start” as any outing of 6+ innings while yielding 3 earned runs or fewer.  This reference suggests an origin.

At the time the term became etched into our vernacular (during the 1990’s), the Atlanta Braves were still setting their standards a lot higher than that, so maybe we were just spoiled as fans.

Nonetheless, it’s still instructive to use that generalized metric as a yardstick to measure the kind of season we’ve seen from Drew Smyly and his stable-mates.

Smyly has recorded 6 such outings this year and 3 of these barely met the standard.  On 3 other occasions, he fell one out short… due to fear that he wouldn’t successfully make it through the inning.

How is the rest of the staff faring?

  • Charlie Morton:  14 quality starts
  • Max Fried:  13 (barely got another one Friday night)
  • Ian Anderson:  8*
  • Huascar Ynoa:  5*
  • Touki Toussaint:  3* (had 3 other instances of at least 5 innings that might have qualified)
  • Kyle Muller:  None*  (pitch-count management stopped him from getting between 1 and 3 QS’s)

The asterisk indicates all pitchers with fewer innings than Smyly — Ynoa has roughly half the mound time that Smyly has logged; Toussaint and Muller much less than that.