When Julio T. started on Opening Day, most people thought of it as by default. Medlen’s gone. Minor’s not back yet. Beachy’s gone. I guess that leaves Julio.
Turns out the 23-year-old Colombian has been every bit the No. 1 starter this season. He’s second in the NL in WHIP and batting average allowed. He’s third in ERA and WAR among pitchers. He’s averaging 7-plus innings a start. He’s the first Brave to throw a 1-0 complete game shutout in a dozen years. He has allowed 3 earned runs once and more than 3 zero times in his eight starts. The Braves are 6-2 in those eight games.
Julio is sixth in the league in innings pitched, and he’ll move up that list tonight. He’s thrown 25 perfect innings; so 43 percent of his innings have been three-up, three down. That’s how you compile a sub-1 WHIP.
Heady stuff. And he’s faced a roster of aces from other teams: Cliff Lee, Cueto, Strasburg, Gallardo, Jason Hammel (he’s been an ace so far this season). In short, in case you’ve missed it, Julio T. is killing it this year. Name a better young starter in the NL East who is not on the DL. There isn’t one. Fernandez and Harvey are both, sadly, disabled for a while. I’d rank Julio right behind those guys right now.
He’ll probably need to keep it up as the Bravos face the tough lefty from North Carolina today, Madison Bumgarner. He’s allowed s a lot of baserunners–20 more than Julio in 9 fewer innings pitched. He just hasn’t allowed too many of them to score. Maybe today the following lineup can scratch out a few tallies:
Pastornicky, J-Up, Freeman, Gattis, Johnson, BJ, Doumit 9, Simmons, Julio. Yep, the pitcher is batting 9th. The local organ scribe says Fredi says it’s a regular day off for J-Hey. It ain’t like he’s ripping lefties, anyway.
* The infamous cult leader based his “temple” in the Bay Area before decamping for Guyana.