And finally a WIN yesterday, after a few days of an unusual drought. Injuries will do that to you…
Minor rest pays off: The extra rest that Mike Minor got between starts seems to have paid off. He had a terrific start yesterday that helped the Braves break their losing streak: 7IP, 6H, 1R, 1BB, 2SO. Minor pitched to the team in front of him, using the whole ballpark to exploit the fly-ball tendencies of the Cardinals and get outs in the air. It was nerve racking at times, but he had some good defense behind him and was able to avoid the sweet spot of the St. Louis bats.
Beachy elbow: Brandon Beachy was placed on the disabled list over the weekend with elbow inflammation. This is another huge blow to Atlanta, as Beachy seemed to be getting back to the form he showed before his injury. At this point he could be out 3 weeks or 6 six weeks or anything in between; he’s pretty much lost for the season as a starter. Even if he did come back in a few weeks, he likely wouldn’t have enough time to build up to go deep into a game. He may be able to provide help out of the bullpen if he’s able to make it back. This would be a similar path to the one John Smoltz took in 2001 when he returned from Tommy John surgery.
Looking for another starter: After the injury to Tim Hudson, the Braves apparently put in a waiver claim on the Brewers Kyle Lohse. The teams were unable to work out a trade and the Brewers pulled him back, but it confirms that the Braves were looking for any sort of additional help in the rotation — and they may have stepped up that pursuit after losing Beachy. They added some insurance over the weekend when they acquired Freddy Garcia from the Orioles. He will likely see some time in the bullpen or rotation in September once rosters expand, but hopefully he won’t be counted on for too many important innings. He may have also been acquired because Baseball Reference lists his nickname as “The Chief.”
Gwinnett has starters: Another emergency option which the Braves will hopefully not have to use this year are the Gwinnett starters. Over the weekend the three G-Braves pitcher who started games all had quality starts: David Hale went 7 innings, Omar Poveda pitched a strong 6, and believe it or not Kameron Loe pitched into the 8th. I’m not sure that any of that would translate to the Majors, but at least they’re pitching well if they are needed.
Sip has starters too: If Gwinnett’s starting pitchers don’t excite you, then maybe Mississippi’s will — each of their starters this weekend had good starts. Michael Lee pitched shutout baseball for 7 innings, Ian Thomas pitched well in a losing effort, and Aaron Northcraft had the strikeout working in his 5 innings of work.
Elander heating up: Outfielder Josh Elander is starting to catch up to Carolina League pitching, and has left a mid-season slump behind. With hits in each game this weekend he is hitting .388/.426/.510 in his past 13 games.
Cabrera has trouble again: Mauricio Cabrera encountered a rough outing after a few pretty good outings. The walks are the thing that seems to bite Cabrera, as he can’t avoid them even in good games. He has now walked 71 in 131 innings this season; issuing 3 or more walks in each of his last 6 games and 9 out of his last 10 games. From his line in Saturday’s game, 3 of his 4 walks came around to score: 4IP, 4H, 6R, 4BB, 3SO, 1WP. Poor control is something that can be solved, and it will likely be something the Braves focus on as Cabrera moves up the minor league ladder.