• Exclusives

    Win against SF pits Beachy-less Braves against Mets

    The Braves will be without Brandon Beachy for their 5-game set against the Mets. They'd hoped to start him in the 1st game of doubleheader.

    The Braves will be without Brandon Beachy for their 5-game set against the Mets. They’d hoped to start him in the 1st game of the Tuesday doubleheader.

    The Atlanta Braves wrapped a 3-game series at Turner Field against the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants with one question on their minds: What will the pitching schedule be against the New York Mets? The Braves were waiting for the final game against the Giants to make an announcement about who would be pitching in one of the doubleheader games Tuesday after ace Brandon Beachy struggled in his most recent rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett with inflammation/fluid in his repaired pitching elbow. That decision is Alex Wood. Atlanta will welcome the Mets for an unusual 5-game series, making up for weather-postponed games earlier in the season at Citi Field.

    Before we can focus on how the series against the Mets will pan out, a recap of the weekend series against the Giants:

    Game 1:

    W: Bumgarner (6-4) L: Medlen (3-7)

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    Giants 1 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 6 11 1
    Braves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0

    Medlen wasn’t sharp, but once again he received no run support. This seems to be the story of Medlen’s season. While Minor has cited run support as a big part of his success this season, Medlen could easy decry the offense for leaving him in a lurch. Medlen was pitching with the added pressure of not knowing which of the starters might be sent to the ‘pen with the looming return of ace Brandon Beachy. Medlen had said repeatedly that he didn’t want to return to the ‘pen after much success as a starter last season. However, the two odd men out appeared to be Kris Medlen and Paul Maholm.

    The Braves continue to lead the National League in strikeouts (615) and are tied with Colorado in home runs (91). Those two stats seem to be a huge part of the problem with run support for Medlen. In his starts, he has all too often seen his team record strikeouts and not home runs. The Braves have struggled in games that they haven’t hit a home run, winning only 4 games in which a home run isn’t put on the board. ¬†Medlen has also watching his team be shut out more in his starts than anyone else in the rotation, 3 shut outs, something that has become a trend for the Braves. In half of Medlen’s starts, the Braves have scored 2 or fewer runs.

    Game 2:

    W: Kimbrel (2-1) L: Romo (3-3)

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    Giants 0 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 5 11 1
    Braves 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 2 6 11 2

    The two big stories to come out of the second game of the series were the 2 homers by B.J. Upton and the crazy 9th inning that saw the Braves tie up the game and go on to win it on a walk-off single by first baseman Freddie Freeman.

    In his last 7 games, B.J. Upton is hitting .273 with 6 hits, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 strike outs, 3 walks, a .360 on-base percentage and .636 slugging. His average is up almost 10 ticks in a week. This is a very good sign for the outfielder and the Braves who have been patient as he has worked diligently to regain his swing. Something else that is noteworthy in his last 7 games is that he has stolen 2 bases and scored 3 runs. These are both things that the Braves expected from B.J. Upton when they signed him.

    While Freddie Freeman is currently 5th among 1st basemen in All Star balloting, he continues to lead the Braves offense and put his ballerina-like defense on display. Freddie finished game 2 of the series with an unbelievable .407 average with 2-outs and runners in scoring position. That puts him 7th in the National League in that category. He is now 2nd in the NL with a .446 with RISP.

    Game 3:

    W: Teheran (5-3) L: Lincecum (4-7) SV: Kimbrel (19)

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    Giants 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
    Braves 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 x 3 7 0

    The difference between Julio Teheran in the 2013 season versus when he was first put in the rotation in 2012 was no more obvious than in the final inning of Teheran’s 6-inning outing last night. Teheran allowed back-to-back singles to Posey and Pence before striking out Belt and Torres with those runners on. He allowed another single to Arias, increasing the pressure of the pinch he’d pitched into, but was able to get Noonan to pop-up to get out of the inning. While Julio Teheran can dominate on his good days, just as he had in 2012, he can now pitch out of situations that would get the better of him last season.

    Teheran notched 8 strike outs before turning the game over to Avilan, Walden and Kimbrel who kept the shutout of the Giants intact while striking out 4 batters collectively. Kimbrel recorded his 19th save of the season, tying him with Mujica of the Cardinals for 2nd in the NL in saves behind Grilli of the Pirates who has an unreal 25 saves before the all-star break.

    The Braves did not tally a home run in the game, looking more like a small ball team than they have most of the season when their power bats have led the way.

    BRAVES BEGIN 5-GAME SET WITHOUT BEACHY…

    While the plan was to use Brandon Beachy for the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the ace’s recent setback at Triple-A Gwinnett threw a wrench in the plans of Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren. Beachy has fluid on his pitching elbow, the elbow repaired by Tommy John surgery last summer. This leaves the Braves with a predicament they haven’t experienced yet this year–who to bring from the Triple-A Gwinnett or out of the bullpen to start in his place. The likely choice was Alex Wood and the Braves have now announced that he will get his first big league start on Tuesday. Wood was called up in May, his contract bought from the Double-A Mississippi Braves, to help in the beat-up bullpen.

    Alex Wood’s numbers with Double-A Mississippi:

    Team W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
    MIS 4 2 1.26 10 10 57.0 41 10 8 1 15 57 1.63 .195

    It’s worth noting that Major League Baseball has changed the roster allowance this season so that teams can pick up a 26th man for a day with a doubleheader. For Fredi Gonzalez, you have to assume he will be going with an extra reliever in the event that Alex Wood comes out of the game early or the game goes into extra innings.

    One another note about the 5-game set: Zack Wheeler will be making his big league debut for the Mets against Maholm. Wheeler is from the Atlanta area. Wheeler has had 12 starts in Triple-A with a 4.14 ERA. Wheeler was the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft by the San Francisco Giants and made his way to the Mets in the Carlos Beltran trade. One of the highest-praised prospects in baseball, his rise to the big leagues was slowed this season when he experienced soreness in his right clavicle.

    While a question mark looms for the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Mets in terms of what the Braves will get out of Alex Wood, the rest of the pitching match ups are as follows: Monday’s game will feature Gee (5-6, 4.84) vs. Hudson (4-6, 4.41); the Mets will send Harvey (5-1, 2.04) vs. a pitcher TBD in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader; the second game of the doubleheader will feature Wheeler (0-0, 0.00) vs. Maholm (7-5, 3.65); Wednesday’s game will pit Marcum (0-8, 5.43) vs. Medlen (3-7, 3.09); and, the final game of the 5-game set features Niese (3-6, 4.15) vs. Minor (8-2, 2.68).

    Tara Rowe is an independent historian and beat writer for BravesWire.com. Follow Tara on Twitter @framethepitch" href="https://twitter.com/#!/framethepitch">@framethepitch.