Starters must step up

JP Morosi raises some reasonable doubts about the Bravos:

So it will be harder to generate offense in divisional games — something the Braves found challenging enough in 2011, when they ranked in the bottom half of the NL in runs scored. The low output contributed to their appearance in a major-league-leading 26 extra-inning games. That, in turn, cranked up pressure on the still-young Kimbrel and Venters.

The rotation was complicit, too. Rather than ease the workload of Kimbrel, Venters and fellow stalwart Eric O’Flaherty by pitching deep into games, the starters logged only 957 1/3 innings — the fewest of any NL team that finished with a winning record.

The Braves would love to reverse that trend in 2012, but I doubt they will succeed. Hudson was their only 200-inning pitcher last year, and his lost April will make it almost impossible to hit the benchmark in 2012. Derek Lowe finished second on the staff in innings pitched, and he was dealt to Cleveland for salary relief.

So, at least until Hudson returns, the younger starters — Jurrjens, 26; Hanson, 25; Brandon Beachy, 25 — must lead the staff. And it’s unclear if they’re ready for that responsibility. …

It may take some time this year to understand the Braves’ performance last year. Perhaps those 89 wins weren’t a choke at all — but rather the best a flawed team could do.

On a positive note, Mike Minor had another strong outing today.

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8 Comments on Starters must step up

  1. mike nissenfeld // March 8, 2012 at 3:22 pm //

    I know its just spring training and I should know better but how about winning a couple of games here, it would b good for the fans Psyche and maybe generate a few people at the ticket windows.

  2. Jack Straw // March 8, 2012 at 5:08 pm //

    I hate to see young players pressured, but we really need Minor to succeed in the rotation.

  3. Tokyokie // March 9, 2012 at 10:14 am //

    I fear we’re really going to regret not acquiring a corner outfielder during the off-season. If Heyward’s hitting woes continue and Prado has to play half the time at third because Chipper’s hurting, then we’re going to get little offensive production from the corner outfielders, and frankly, even with dominate pitching, it’s hard to win that way.

  4. rankin' rob // March 9, 2012 at 11:05 am //

    We stood still in the off-season and our budget is being managed as though we were a small market team. It’s time for these young arms to put up and for Fredi to let them pitch into the 6-7th inning. If they can’t, we are a third place team.

  5. charlesad // March 9, 2012 at 11:29 am //

    Rankin’ rob, I think you summed it up nicely. Heyward’s performance is critical, to state the obvious.

  6. Roadrunner // March 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm //

    I expect Heyward to succeed and to be the cornerstone for an era. If not, he’ll be a Komminsk, a harbinger of prolonged futility.

  7. Jack Straw // March 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm //

    We have a stretch of 18 games in 19 days in April, followed by only 2 days off the entire month of May. Fredi is gonna run these starters out there for 5 innings, same as last year. By June 1 the front 4 guys in the bullpen all will have 30 appearances.

  8. PepeFreeUs // March 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm //

    Maybe I’m projecting but I think Wren’s on to his act. If he tries a repeat, I think he’ll be jettisoned.

    Looks like Julio bounced back nicely today and Martin & J-Hey swunfg the bat well in the other game against the Mutts.

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