As Brandon Beachy puts it, he is till “piecing it all together, little by little, each start.” If eight solid innings of zero runs, only three hits and six strikeouts is “piecing it together,” then the Atlanta Braves are in for a real treat the rest of the season and on into the playoffs.
Last night’s 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins was just Beachy’s third start since coming off the disabled list. In his first outing, the Braves’ right hander was knocked around hard, going just 3.2 innings and giving up seven earned runs. His next start was a big improvement. He went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs, three of them earned, but he pitched around trouble well. He showed a lot of grit and determination in that start – he didn’t have his best stuff by any stretch, but he kept his team in the game.
Last night’s start should serve as a springboard for the rest of Beachy’s season. His curveball and slider still need to be improved upon – he’s not nearly as accurate with them as he was last year, and he will be the first one to tell you so.
He also appears to be featuring his curveball much less thus far (likely because of his struggles with locating it), but against Miami, Beachy was able to work off his fastball and locate his change-up well enough to give a commanding performance. His curveball and slider will come around; it takes time for a pitcher to fully come back after being out of the game for over a year.
If Beachy continues his improvement, and the rest of the Braves’ pitching staff continues to perform at such a high level, Freddi Gonzalez will have a very difficult decision to make at season’s end regarding who will be in the starting rotation for the playoffs. It’s an embarrassment of riches in Atlanta, and a problem that Gonzalez is surely happy to have.