Manager Fredi Gonzalez probably wanted to see a little more out of Brandon Beachy than what he saw on the mound tonight. After missing the majority of last season with elbow inflammation from his Tommy John surgery a year before, the 27-year-old right-hander did not look comfortable at all in his first start of Spring Training with the Atlanta Braves in their match up against the Houston Astros.
Before the game, Beachy said he wasn’t going to push himself against the Astros, but I don’t think he even anticipated this kind of poor performance. Against Houston, he was so bad that he couldn’t even manage to get out of the second inning and needed to be pulled with one out remaining before the damage got much worse.
In only one inning and two-thirds of work on the mound, Beachy showed no signs of the former dominate pitcher that Braves fans have become accustomed to over the years. He allowed five hits, two earned runs, one walk and recorded only one strikeout in a terrible effort before Gonzalez replaced him with Cory Gearrin to stop the bleeding.
To make things worse, he couldn’t get his fastball to 90 mph, which is not a good thing for a guy whose velocity should be up after recovering from an injury. I know Beachy said he wasn’t going to push himself and this may be his first start of Spring Training, but his performance tonight definitely raises some concerns about what kind of pitcher he can be with Atlanta this season.
The Braves wanted him to be the same guy who made the MLB All-Star game in 2012 after leading all starting pitchers with a 2.00 ERA. After all, if there’s one thing the Braves are lacking it’s a true ace on their pitching staff and many hoped Beachy could be this guy once again.
However, it’s not looking likely after his poor showing on the mound tonight. Beachy looks to be heading towards a back-end of the rotation type pitcher, which means it will be up to Kris Medlen or Julio Teheran to take over as the ace for the Braves entering the 2014 season.