Today’s games will influence the makeup of the Braves’ rotation
Mike Minor bought himself at least one more start last weekend he allowed one run and four hits over five innings against a Marlins team that was in the midst of hitting .197 over a six-game stretch. The Yankees will provide a much greater challenge tonight and potentially influence how the Braves’ rotation looks over the course of the next couple of weeks. <p>
If Minor impresses during tonight’s matchup against CC Sabathia, he could keep his spot in the rotation. If he extends the troubles that have haunted him as he has posted an 8.84 ERA in his past eight starts, then the Braves will have to choose who will start Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles.
The three primary candidates to make that start would be Minor, Randall Delgado, who minimized damage during Monday night’s sloppy start, or Kris Medlen, who will make his third start for Triple-A Gwinnett tonight against Pawtucket. After throwing 58 pitches over five scoreless innings against Lehigh Valley last week, he went to the bullpen and threw approximately 15 more pitchers to further stretch his arm.
If Medlen enjoys another strong outing while getting his pitch count between 90-100, he could certainly be deemed ready to return to Atlanta to join the starting rotation. But if Minor delivers a strong outing tonight, some might question whether it would be better to simply bring Medlen back to restrengthen the bullpen.
If this happens, Medlen would have every right to feel like he wasted the past couple of weeks with Gwinnett. But I’m guessing he won’t have to worry about this.
Even if Minor enjoys a strong performance tonight, there could be a need for Medlen to give Brandon Beachy a break.
Beachy and the Braves are not discussing the slight elbow discomfort he felt recently.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the decision to start Beachy with three extra days of rest on Saturday has something to do with the dip in velocity he realized during the last inning he threw on Friday night against the Blue Jays. But considering he threw just six fastballs that inning and five were from the stretch with nobody on base, this just seems to be code for “his elbow was barking a little bit and we decided to give him a couple extra days.”
The fact that Beachy is still scheduled to pitch this weekend indicates the Braves are not too concerned about his elbow. But the decision to move him back combined with the inconsistent command he has displayed in his past few outings certainly provides reason to keep an eye on where this storyline progresses.