Beachy prepared to prolong impressive rookie season
With weather.com essentially guaranteeing rain will continue to fall in Philadelphia through the night, the Phillies remain optimistic that tonight’s game against the Braves will be played. This is the only approach a team can take when they’re already scheduled to play 25 games without a day off during the regular season’s final 23 days.
If tonight’s game is postponed, there’s no doubt players from both teams will be hoping it will not be played at a later date. The Braves will not want to play a doubleheader Wednesday and then travel to New York to play another twinbill against the Mets Thursday.
Nor will they want to return to Philadelphia on Sept. 29, one day after playing their last scheduled regular season game in Atlanta against the Phillies. <p>
In all likelihood, the game would only be made up on Sept. 29 if the outcome affected the playoff picture.
With the Braves owning an 8 1/2-game lead in the National League Wild Card chase and sitting behind the Phillies by the same exact margin in the NL East race, right now it’s hard to imagine the game could affect the playoff picture.
But even with the Braves having just 22 games remaining, it’s still too early to simply make these assumptions. The Phillies have 25 games remaining and if they were to get swept during this weekend’s four-game series in Milwaukee, then the Brewers could be in position to overtake Philadelphia and gain home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Long shot? Yes. But, this might explain why the Braves and Phillies might have to at least schedule a potential makeup date for tonight’s game.
Corrected: Tim Hudson is starting tonight. Brandon Beachy is scheduled to start Wednesday.
Beachy has made it known multiple times that he is not happy about the fact that he is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies. “I’m going to get them” he has been heard saying on at least two different occasions this year.
Less than one full year into his Major League career, Beachy has left a strong impression on many within the baseball industry. Yesterday a veteran NL scout said, “How’s Beachy doing? I love watching him pitch.” Other scouts have expressed similar compliments in the 25-year-old pitcher’s direction.
Despite missing a month with the oblique strain, Beachy ranks second on the team and among all rookie pitchers with 135 strikeouts.
Beachy’s 10.10 strikeouts per nine innings ranks as the third-best total posted by all Major League starters this year. He only trails Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke (10.67) and Toronto’s Brandon Morrow (10.41) in this category.
To truly put Beachy’s 10.10 strikeouts per nine innings in perspective, it ranks as the fourth-best mark posted by a rookie starting pitcher in Major League history. His mark only trails those posted by former Rookie of the Year Award winners Kerry Wood (12.58) Dwight Gooden (11.39) and Hideo Nomo (11.10).
With Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman enjoying their own stellar rookie seasons, Beachy is not even considered the best ROY candidate in his own clubhouse. But as he nears the end of his impressive rookie campaign, he is in position to play a key role for the Braves.
Given that he will not even throw off a mound again for two weeks, Jair Jurrjens will not be ready for the start of the playoffs. While Tommy Hanson was encouraged by yesterday’s long toss session, his status for the start of the postseason remains questionable.
And with Derek Lowe struggling during last night’s loss to the Phillies, the Braves can only continue to guess what he might provide in October.
As has been the case over the past couple weeks, Tim Hudson and Beachy stand as the best bets for the playoff rotation. The makeup of the remainder of the rotation will be influenced by how Mike Minor and Julio Teheran/Randall Delgado perform over the next few weeks.
After last night’s game, the Braves were very complimentary of Cliff Lee, who had just limited them to five hits while rolling toward his sixth shutout of the season. To put this in perspective, Braves pitchers have totaled six shutouts (Hudson 4, Jurrjens and John Smoltz) over the course of the past six seasons (2006-11).