(CD will follow with evaluation of the Braves’ offense and defense)
On the surface, the Braves’ pitching has been solid. Their ERA, opponents’ BA and are below the league average, and the rotation has notched 23 quality starts.
It’s those other 17 starts that have sucked. And the bullpen hasn’t been the rock it was in 2012; now, with JV undergoing a second Tommy John surgery and EOF’s velocity declining, you can’t help but wonder if FW might be shopping for relievers come the trading deadline.
Huddy: C Timmy’s striking out more hitters than ever before in his Braves career (6.9/9 IP), but he’s been anything but dominant. His numbers would be downright ugly if you took away his two starts against the Nats (14 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB). Timmy hasn’t pitched past the 5th inning in 4 of his 9 starts, which is very uncharacteristic. One bad inning has been his downfall, so you figure he’ll right the ship.
Maholm: B- No starter has been more erratic than Maholm, who, like Huddy, has pitched superbly against the Nats (15-2/3, 2 ER, 7 H). Otherwise, it’s a mixed bag. When he’s bad, he’s bad — 18 H, 14 ERA in 8 frames vs. the Tigers and Giants. Right now, his stats are Maholm-esque.
Medlen: C+ No one should’ve expected Med Dog to pitch like he did in the second half last year but I think we all thought he’d be better than this. Check out the disparity between his 2012 numbers and this year:
- ’12: 0.913 WHIP, 6.7 H/9 IP, 6 HR allowed, 1.5 BB/9, 7.8 K/9,
- ’13: 1.409 WHIP, 9.2 H/9 IP, 7 HR allowed, 3.4 BB/9, 6.0 K/9
Minor: A- Meet your staff ace. He’s pitched at least six innings in all but one start (and in that one he completed 5-2/3) and has walked just 10 batters all year. Only three NL lefties (Kershaw, Bumgarner and ?Travis Wood?) have better WHIP’s.
Teheran: C Though he’s pitched of late Julio has given up a lot of hits while missing few bats (11.5 H/9 IP vs. 5.6 K/9 IP). I keep waiting for him to turn the corner and pitch up the hype but it doesn’t look like that’ll happen anytime soon. He’s been a serviceable fifth starter but should be so much better than that.
Kimbrel: B In September 2010 the great Mariano Rivera went through a two-week stretch in which he blew three saves, struck out only one and had a 9.53 ERA. Which is to say, it happens to the best of them. Kimbrel will probably never be as good as he was last year but he’s still the best closer in the NL.
EOF: B+ Same old same old from O’Flaherty, but can he hold up over the long haul without Venters to help carry the left-handed load? It won’t surprise me at all if we see lefty Alex Wood, who has a 0.82 ERA after 8 starts in Double-A, in Atlanta sometime after the All-Star Break.
Walden: C+ The stuff is there but the trust isn’t. That needs to change if the ‘pen is going to remain the force that it’s been over the last few years.
Avilan: B It’s not always pretty (8 BB, 6 K in 15 IP), but Luis has gotten some big outs while avoiding big innings.
Vavaro, Gearrin, Ayala, et al: B+ Solid all-around.
FW: B- Pulled off the best trade of the offseason yet is also responsible for the worst free agent signing. Sound familiar?
Fredi: C- If anyone asks you, “what you got against Fredi,” remind them of his strategery in the May 3rd loss to the Mets.
Bottom of the 9th, tied at 5, no out, Ramiro Pena at second, Reed Johnson at the plate.
A single probably wins the game, but Fredi don’t play that. Good bunt by Reed, but to what end?
This, of course, is not an isolated example. Unless the pitcher is up, there’s no good reason to give away an out in the late innings of a close ballgame. But 9 times out of 10, Fredi does just that.
A new third base coach would be nice, too. Snitker’s judgment on sending runners has gotten progressively worse.