Rookie pitcher Alex Wood made just his second start of the season for the Atlanta Braves, and although he wasn’t great, he pitched well enough to keep the game close, leaving after 4.1 innings of four-run, eight-hit ball in which he struck out five and issued two walks in Thursday’s 7-4 road loss to the New York Mets.
With the Braves trailing 4-3, first baseman Freddie Freeman knotted the score when he led off the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run. But Atlanta reliever Kameron Loe, who was called up from the minors on Sunday and replaced Wood in the bottom of the fifth, had trouble finding the strike zone. And when he did, the Mets made him pay.
In 1.2 innings of work, Loe allowed three runs on four hits while recording two strikeouts and two walks (both intentional). He was all over the place the entire time, as 18 of his 41 pitches were for balls.
The 31-year-old right-hander, who has spent time with five different teams in his MLB career (Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Braves) proved why that is the case, and if he continues to perform — maybe fail to perform is a better way of putting it — the way that he did on Thursday, he may find himself off another club’s roster.
That’s probably a little harsh after one shaky outing, but the fact of the matter is that the Braves possess one of the top bullpens in the league. Closer Craig Kimbrel and Co. have shut the door on so many teams not just this year, but over the past few seasons as well, setting some pretty high standards for anyone who wishes to join Atlanta’s relief corps.
It’s as simple as this: If Loe wants to remain a Brave, he better get it together in his next few appearances. Add in the fact that Atlanta has been shopping for another reliever before Tuesday’s trade deadline and it becomes even more important for the 6-foot-8, 245-pounder to shape up.
Plus, as I said on Wednesday, this club is ready for a sustained run.