It is too early to make assumptions regarding Beachy
Instead of using Twitter to announce Brandon Beachy will visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday, the Braves could have actually lightened the mood by allowing comedian Stephen Wright to make the announcement.
There is nothing funny about the fact that the news regarding Beachy was revealed just a few hours after Jason Heyward had two metal plates inserted into the fractured jaw that will sideline him at least until the latter portion of September. But I suggest you wait a few more days before allowing this double whammy to lead to a full-blown panic attack.
It is concerning that Beachy experienced a sudden drop in velocity during the sixth inning of Tuesday’s start against the Mets. But for now, the Braves believe this was simply a product of the inconsistencies a pitcher often experiences after returning from Tommy John surgery.
When asked if he believes he will pitch again this year, Beachy said he is “confident” that he will. But before doing so, he is going to see Andrews who will evaluate the elbow he surgically-repaired 14 months ago. There is a chance the accomplished surgeon could deliver some bad news. But there is also a chance he will simply send Beachy back to Atlanta with peace of mind.
Beachy began feeling some tightness during the fifth inning of Tuesday night’s start against the Mets. He likened it to what he felt when he was shut down with elbow inflammation in June, just days before he was originally scheduled to make his first big league start since the surgery.
Through Tuesday’s first four innings, Beachy’s fastball velocity (89-92 and touched 93 mph ) was similar to what it was during each of the previous four starts he had made since returning from the surgical procedure on July 29. The velo drop was very slight in the fifth and much more noticeable in the sixth, especially toward the end of the inning when the last three fastballs he threw were clocked in order at 87, 85 and 82 mph.
Here’s a breakdown of his velo during Tuesday’s final three innings:
Fourth inning: Nine fastballs averaged 90.1 mph
Fifth inning; 10 fastballs averaged 89.4 mph
Sixth inning: 10 fastballs average 86.7 mph
Now courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net, here is a look at Beachy’s average and max fastball velo from each of the five starts he has made since returning:
July 29 vs. COL: 91.9 average, 93.6 max
Aug. 3 at PHI: 91.8, 93.1
Aug. 9 vs. MIA: 90.5, 94.2
Aug. 14 vs. PHI: 89.8, 93.7
Aug. 20 vs. NYM: 90.5, 93.3
So the only time, Beachy’s average velo has even slightly dipped below 90 mph this month came on Aug.14, five days after he had thrown a season-high 99 pitches and completed eight innings for the first time since May 17, 2012.
Given the significant velo drop that occurred at the end of Tuesday’s outing provides reason for concern. But this might have simply been a sign that Beachy is ready for that break the Braves had already been planning to give him and their other five starters over the next couple weeks.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell had planned to skip each starting pitcher through one turn of the rotation. Beachy might need to skip two turns. Or maybe he will indeed get some bad news while visiting with Dr. Andrews. But for now, it is too early to make assumptions.