Beachy was bound to experience growing pains

Did you really think the baseball gods were going to allow Fredi Gonzalez to begin his tenure as Bobby Cox’s successor without having to endure the cruel initiation process that has unfolded over the past week.   <p>

Just 10 days ago, you were preparing to watch Derek Lowe battle Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo and feeling pretty good about the fact that the Braves had won three of their first four.   Heck they had even provided some drama the day before with a pair of eighth-inning solo homer off Takashi Saito.

While losing seven of their past nine games, they have struggled at the plate and seen both Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy give away winnable games.   Minor proved he needs more seasoning while allowing Marco Estrada to beat him last week.  Beachy provided similar signs last night as he struggled with his command.

Last night was undoubtedly the worst of the six career starts made by Beachy.  But the fact that he was at least able to get to the sixth inning and keep the Marlins scoreless in his final 2 1/3 innings provided further indication of the kind of poise he has.

Yes, Beachy admitted he allowed himself to get rattled after hanging a curve to Chris Coghlan in the first inning.  And yes, it was easy to see that he repeatedly missed location during the early innings.  But as he continues to serve as the fifth starter, the Braves will have to expect to witness some growing pains.

With 35 starts at the professional level under his belt, Minor has shown that he could benefit from more time at the Minor League level.   His development will continue to be aided by the fact that he pitched in crucial situations in international competitions and spent his collegiate days facing SEC talent as Vanderbilt’s ace.

Before being signed by the Braves as an undrafted free agent out of the Virginia Valley Summer League in 2008, Beachy’s development included some time as Indiana Wesleyan’s closer.  He made eight Minor League starts in 2009 and 13 more before being called out of the Instructional League to make his first three Major League starts in the heart of a pennant race last year.

Last night’s start was the 27th Beachy has made at the professional level.  Thus he will have a few more nights like last night.  But he has still shownhe can provide some value in the fifth spot of the rotation.

The Braves will promote Minor when he proves that he’s ready.  But until then, they need to allow him to develop with the hope that he will show why the gave him $2.4 million after taking him with the seventh overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Fredi’s choice to stick with O’Flaherty:  I’m sure some of you have a differing opinion, but I too would have kept left-handed reliever Eric O’Flaherty on the mound to face the right-handed batters that came to the plate in last night’s decisive seventh inning.    The Marlins preserved the lead they gained after O’Flaherty singles to three consecutive right-handed hitters  –  Gaby Sanchez, pinch hitter Wes Helms and John Buck.

Given a choice between right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink and O’Flaherty, I’m sticking with the southpaw, who is equally effective against right-handed and left-handed hitters.   Right-handed hitters batted .229 (19-for-83) against him last year and left-handers hit .231 (18-for-78).   Entering last night, he had allowed just one hit in eight at-bats against right-handed batters this year.

The inning might have transpired the same exact way.  But  you have to wonder if  things might have proven different if the Braves had opted to promote Stephen Marek or another right-handed reliever instead of opting to carry a third catcher after optioning Minor to Triple-A Gwinnett last week.

They opted to carry the third catcher to provide more pinch-hit opportunities to David Ross, who hasn’t notched a plate appearance since tallying his only three of the season on April 4.

The tide should turn for Lowe:  As long as the weather cooperates, Derek Lowe should at least get a little more offensive support than he has his past two starts.   Well, we at least know that he won’t get any less.

Lowe has allowed three runs this year and suffered two losses.  The only two runs the Braves have plated for him this year came during his victorious Opening Day effort against the Nationals.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Braves tally at least one tonight against Mets starter D.J. Carasco, who is making his first start of the year and second since 2005.   He has allowed seven hits, issued three walks and surrendered three runs in 6 2/3 innings of relief this year.

Just four Braves have faced Carrasco in the past. Eric Hinske (3-for-6 with two homers) and Alex Gonzalez (1-for-2) are the only ones who have tallied more than two plate appearances against him.  Tim Hudson and Nate McLouth have both recorded a hitless plate appearance against him.

Yesterday, Gonzalez said Hinske would likely start tomorrow’s game against Mike Pelfrey.

According to the most recent weather reports, it looks like the game will start on time and there’s a chance they could play a full game before the heavy stuff arrives.  There is a 40 percent chance of rain from 8 p.m. ET-midnight.

67 Comments

Thank you for reminding the fans that we all have to be patient with the young rookies. They deserve to make their mistakes and learn from them! Best of luck to Beachy! I still think he has great potential and tremendous poise for his age. He kept us in the game.

Beach did get the heart of the lineup out in order at least once last night. He’ll come around. Nice article.

.385…nuff said!

It can’t be raining that bad….Tommy Hanson isn’t pitching.

I think it would have been better to start Hinske at 1B for the 4 game today. 3-6 with 2 homers is a hard stat to argue with. Couldn’t have hurt; also would have given Freddie some rest.

Boy, Fredi looks like a genius tonite. Hinske batting 4th turns out to be the right move. It’s been great to see JJ back and twirling that slide-piece. Hope he can stay healthy.

And Nate McClutch kills another rally. Only starter w/o a hit tonite.

Any chance of trading Mclouth and maybe cple minor leaugers to Sf for Rowland and Derosa or one of the either?

What a weird lineup today, guess we’ll see how this goes.

I know it’s never time to panic in April… but when we can’t score runs against a guy who didn’t even make his team this year… things are getting worrisome. Hanson had nearly 10 k’s and threw 60 out of 100 pitches for strikes. What a waisted effort.

Nice. A little 19 year old intelligent dialog. I mean NC doesn’t make sense to me most of the time and is due some good natured ribbing but NOBODY has to shut up here. I mean if we tolerate your drivel Brandy, we can hardly criticize someone else. I mean you be living in a mighty fragile glass house to be throwing stones.

This is the same guy who had a remark about me and Bravo complimenting each other. I don’t get it, you make fun of two people who can agree and get along, but telling the guy who I’m almost certain is a troll to shutup is crossing the line? Did you form some kind of friendship with nc, Bill? I was actually starting to suspect that you two are actually one in the same; one account is solely for the insane trade proposals, the other solely for whining about everything possible, and now you’re trying to play the nice guy? If you haven’t noticed Bill, this is the internet. The point is you can say anything you want. And I just did. And you have a thousand times before. I’m sure every regular poster on here finds your complaining a lot more annoying than me telling NC to show up.

By the way, Nate’s in the 8 hole, Heyward in the 2 hole. Now if Heyward, Prado, AGon, Freeman, and Uggla reach about a collective .260 batting average or a collective .340 OBP after the game, then you can knock McLouth and blame him for everything like you always try to do.

Not a fan of having Heyward in the two hole, 3 spot I’m O.K. with but I still think he belongs batting 4th.

Off to a hot start. Good thing we got Nate out of the 2 spot, eh?!

Don’t worry, guys. Now that Nate is down in the order, we can overcome any deficit!

Brandy, you didn’t say “show up” you said “shut up”. And yes. Mclouth just showed again why he is the worst CFer in BB. 2 throws to the plate, neither hit the cutoff, neither one anywhere close to the plate and neither one nearly in time to get the runner. When you’ve got a guy who hit’s about .200 and can’t play defense who thinks that dyeing his hair might change his fortunes, you got big problems. you can defend your little friend all you want, but he just sucks.

I agree with you, those throws were terrible. And once again, I’m not defending McLouth, simply showing how stupid your continuous complaining about McLouth being the problem of the team. 5 of the regulars are parts of the problem, excluding McLouth.

And sorry, somehow I typed show up. I’ll say it again, shut up NC.

Brandy, maybe you should take your own advice.

Oh, started getting annoying eh? Good, because it became that way with you back in 09.

And I will be happy to include that offensive wizard Gonzalez to my diatribe if that warms your young soul.

Brandy you’ve only been posting here since mid last year, how would your limited intellect know anything about 2009. Weren’t you like 12 back then?

Glad to see how top notch your memory is. I have been here since 09, just not as a full time poster. I started posting regularly in the offseason before last year. And yes, terrible at bat by McLouth, but even if he would have at least walked, I’m not so confident with the 9 holes 0-50 this year.

And McBlondie hit’s another pop up with RISP.

Gotta love these time stamps. MLb at its finest

Heyward’s showing off that OBP.

Brandy the fact that you want to compare McBlondie with Prado and Uggla just shows how ridiculous your argument is. One is hitting below the Mendoza line for 2+ years with no power and no defense and two of those are among the most consistent hitters in the game and in Prado’s case one of the most consistent defensive guys in baseball. Your are just loopy. Prado and Uggla will hit and field. McLouth can’t hit grandma’s underhand right now or for that matter since he joined the Braves. Just keep digging son. That hole get’s deeper and deeper.

Shows how much you pay attention, Bill. That old mind of yours can’t process things as well as it should, does it? I never said McLouth = insert player here. I never said McLouth > x player. I simply have shown time and time again that McLouth is not the sole reason for the Braves losing, like you try to make it seem. Track records don’t matter for this seasons results. All are hitting badly THIS YEAR.

Can’t blame him there. Hit hit that ball hard.

“Heyward, Prado, AGon, Freeman, and Uggla reach about a collective .260 batting average” Yeah Brandie you never said anything about those guys(a few posts ago). So “track records don’t matter”, then tell me why would McCan’tgetaHitorMakeaPlay even be in the game? You are still digging little one.

It literally hurts my head to see how hard you tried to make an argument there. Let’s recap: “I never said McLouth = insert player here. I never said McLouth > x player.” “Heyward, Prado, AGon, Freeman, and Uggla reach about a collective .260 batting average” Please re-read your last comment closely. Also, I don’t know, maybe because he’s under contract with the Atlanta Braves and plays outfield?

Yawn, see you later little one.

McLouth has dub dubs, and he’s says check ‘em.

I’m so glad I didn’t stay up to watch this pathetic excuse of an offense. So uninspired. Consistently bad for 3 years now. You can’t attribute it anymore to “it’s just April and we’re off to a late start”. It plain sucks. The biggest underachieving offense in MLB by far. They better right the ship quick. I guess we can’t really blame TP anymore huh?

Indeed bravo, I was just about to say we cant blame TP now. This offense is simply too streaky. It has been for a long time and I really dont know what the solution is. I think everyone is kind of off to a slow start this year. This offense should score alot of runs, its a shame Uggla has started so badly.

Also, Brandon and Billreef – your arguements are so boring and really do ruin the comments on this blog. Its dull having to skim over 20 posts from you two trying to score points off each other when trying to see if there is any good baseball discusion going on. Grow up.

Agree with Zidane, TP is not the goat here….. That’s about all I’ll comment on at this point. Right now, we are just not that good of a team at the plate. No excuses.

I have no idea what you guys are talking about, the person to blame is clearly Nate McLouth. But in all seriousness, for everyone calling for Heyward to be put in the 2 hole and McLouth dropped… all it did was make McLouth look better. I agree, something has to be done. And Fredi is wayyy more likely to shake things up than Bobby was. Hell, draw names out of a hat to make the lineup for all I care, if it’s broken, try to fix it.

There is only so much you can with the line up though. I agree mclouth shouldnt be at no.2 but if everyone is hitting .230 then it doesnt matter what order you put them in, you arent going to score runs.

With every day that goes by we get closer to the first “Fredi doesn’t have a clue what he is doing and must go” comment. The drum beats are getting closer.

Seriously though, take away the 11 we got one night, and it has been under 3 runs a game for over two weeks. That is Padres in the 70′s bad. Inconsistency can be expected with a young team, which this basically is, but we have been consistent, consistently bad to this point.

Time to find out who the leaders really are.

I think we’ve seen; Chipper and McCann are the only ones preforming. These guys need to somehow light a fire under everyone elses ass.

The whole “it’s April” excuse still has a bit of validity. I mean, have you guys compared Lance Berkman’s numbers to Pujols’ numbers this year?

2 on, no out, who ya gonna call. RALLY KILLER!!!! Thanks Nate.

Oh man, a tip of the cap to Brandon Beachy. What a masterful performance.

Well, I guess the jet lag has worn off….Way to go Uggla, time to provide that RH power hitting i’ve been waiting for. Chipper and McCann have carried the team so far (which they should if anyone does). Prado is coming around, but not quite at his peak. Freeman appears to be figuring it out a bit (I like him in the 6th hole). We need to get Heyward and Uggla going to get the train moving.

Heck of an inning. Prado, McCann, Freeman, and McLouth multi hit games. Only starter without a hit is that guy who apparently is destined to be in the 2 hole… 2-13 there, only 3 for his last 26 now. Nice play Gonzalez!

Nice game. I’d like to see it replicated a few more times before I come down from the cliff. I think Heyward has weakly grounded to second base 30 times in the last 5 games. He’s so streaky. He’s either hot or cold. I would love to see some more consistency. I love Beachy’s makeup. We need to string together 4 out of our next 4 games. Let’s score some more runs!

*meant 4 out of next 5. But I’ll take 4 of 4 too!

Beachy showed tremendous poise the way that he bounced back ON THE ROAD in LA. He shows signs of greatness. I really like his personality on the mound.

Time for Heyward to make an adjustment. They are consistently getting him out grounding weakly to second. They are on to something and are pounding it. Hopefully he will adjust soon.

Heyward will be ok. He shouldnt be in the two hole though. Dont forget he usually draws alot of walks, sees alot of pitches, has speed and has power – so hitting for average isnt everything for him. But I expect his average to be around .290 this year.

Beachy has definitely been a big find. The kid makes me forget we don’t have a lefty in the rotation. Not bad for a 5th starter.

And let the loling begin; Kawakami heads to the DL in AA Mississippi after giving up 9 earned runs(3 HR’s) in 10 2/3rds innings. Guy can’t even tame AA players. He’s like Jo-Jo Reyes or Blaine Boyer; he goes on the DL just for sucking.

McLouth with another multi-hit game. The power hasn’t shown up, but he is getting on base consistently.

Yeah boy, that Nate is a house a fire. has his avg. up to .270. His avg in the 2 hole- .216, his avg in the 8th spot- .500. Thank God Fredi moved him down.

If I hear “tip your cap to ______” one more time from a Braves player or coach… I’m going to kick my dog.

Ugh, the Kawakami deal is slowly moving up the list of worst deals ever in Braves history…..

Agreed Bravo. Enough with the cap tipping. Take personal responsibility. Last week we couldn’t hit a guy that got cut from the Mets in early March. I too am sick of hearing that.

And, please – don’t kick Cooper.

Lineup just released. JHey given the day off. Much needed I think.

Hitless through 3 innings… shocker.

Boy we needed that 9th inning rally. This team is really scuffling. Maybe that will get em going. Let’s go Kimbrel, shut em down.

why not put freeman in the 2 hole and mclouth batting 8th?

With the winning run on second and a base open… why are we pitching to a .406 hitter? His run means nothing in a tie ball game.

This team will be 8-9 games under .500 after this road trip.

We did WHAT? I had to leave the game. We pitched to Kemp with a base open?

Mark Bowman, why don’t you get off your lazy ass and post here more than every 4 or 5 days?

Ignore him this a$$.

I am glad you agree with me.

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