Beachy ready to show friends and family members that he can pitch
A number of Brandon Beachy’s friends and family members will make the 2 1/2 mile trip from the Kokomo, Ind. area to Cincinnati to watch him start tonight’s game against the Reds. Makes sense. Back when he was growing up in the city, they really did not have many opportunities to drive down the street to see him pitch.
Their best opportunities to see him pitch before he became a pro came during his three-year career as a corner infielder/closer/occasional starter at Indiana Wesleyan University. The picture above shows Beachy proudly wearing his Wesleyan uniform.
Seven years after completing a high school career that he says consisted of him being on the mound for a total of “six or seven innings”, Beachy will take the mound tonight with the best ERA posted by any Major League pitcher pitcher through the first quarter of this season. Just when you think it can’t, this story just continues to get better.
On the way to posting a 1.33 ERA through his first eight starts, Beachy has pitched into the seventh inning six times and surrendered seven extra-base hits (six doubles and one home run). In last year’s 25 starts, he pitched into the seventh inning four times and allowed 40 extra-base hits.
One year after setting a modern rookie franchise record with 169 strikeouts, Beachy committed himself to make the changes necessary to last longer in games. Often I have attempted to explain this by saying that he has been more aggressive in the strike zone. But that has not necessarily been the case.
Beachy has thrown 64.3 percent of his pitches (549 of 854). This is the exact percentage he posted last year while throwing 1,555 of his 2,417 pitches for strikes.
Last year, he threw 4.09 pitches per plate appearance. This year, he has thrown 4.10 pitches per plate appearance.
So, it seems more appropriate to simply say Beachy has been more efficient this year. This was a necessary step in his development. He threw more 100 pitches without completing as many as six innings five times last year. On two of those occasions, he did not complete as many as five innings.
It’s safe to say Beachy has made those strides the Braves are hoping to soon see from Mike Minor, who extended his recent frustrations by allowing four runs on four solo home runs during six innings of Monday night’s loss to the Reds. There is no doubt that the young left-hander needs to make some adjustments.
But given that he had posted an 11.76 ERA and surrendered seven homers in his previous 20 2/3 innings, there was not much reason to be confident that his fortunes were suddenly going to change against a dangerous Reds lineup at the offensive haven known as Great American Ball Park.
I equate this to taking a friend who is trying to remain sober to a pub crawl and saying, “Go get ’em. We know you can do it.”
You can’t approach him as he battles a hangover the next morning and say,”Well now what are we going to do?”
Still I understand those of you who are wondering how much longer the Braves can afford to keep going with Minor, who has posted 10.46 ERA in his past five starts. Some of you are still asking about Kris Medlen and others have asked about Jair Jurrjens.
Well given that Medlen has not completed more than two innings or thrown more than 26 pitches in an appearance this month, it would take at least two weeks to stretch him. With that being said, this would still put him ahead of Jurrjens, who has allowed 16 earned runs in the nine innings that have been totaled in his past two starts with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Still before getting into when Medlen could be ready or discussing Julio Teheran, who ended his recent struggles with seven strong innings on Tuesday afternoon for Gwinnett, the Braves need to remain patient with Minor. He will have a chance to get healthy against a less-than-imposing Nationals offense on Friday.
If his struggles continue that evening, then the Braves may need to evaluate making a change. But for now, despite all of his recent woes, he remains the best option to fill that rotation spot.