Friday, April 15, 2016

Game 4: Braves v. Nationals 4/14/16

Bryce Harper hit a grand slam.

That's really all you need to know about that game, because the rest of it was simply academic. Once Bryce took Julio yard, the ballgame was effectively over. The Braves aren't going to score 5+ runs often, and they certainly aren't going to do it off Stephen Strasburg.

There's only one takeaway I have from this game, and it's about Julio Teheran. I'm not sure he can really pitch anymore. And that's a horrible place to be for a guy that's supposed to be the staff Ace. But he's not. He's not even close. Allow me to elaborate.

In 2014, Julio was an All-Star with a 2.89 ERA and 221 innings pitched. He was going deeper into games, he was dominating lineups, and his WHIP was a crisp 1.081 on the season. All fantastic stats for a 23 year old starter, and the future was bright.

Then 2015 happened. Julio got injured and never really looked right. He said he was fine, but the velocity on his fastball suddenly fell from the middle 90s down to the high 80s MAYBE 91-92. There was a noticeable difference in his confidence. And as a result his stats suffered. A 4.04 ERA and 1.306 WHIP highlighted the issues. But the bigger issue to me was his delivery and speed. Suddenly Julio was throwing batting practice balls over the middle of the plate.

And now in 2016 it's even worse. Just looking at Julio's last 10 starts of 2015, and his first starts of this season? Julio's given up 13 homers in 13 games. He's given up 32 runs in that stretch, and his ERA in that run is a 3.69 over 79.2 innings. The thing was, his stats were improving towards the end of last season, and now he's fallen off again. But the thing that's obviously changed is his WHIP and his homers. That many extra baserunners add up in a bad way, and a leadoff walk was what set up the Bryce Grando yesterday.

It's funny to me (funny depressing not haha) that the 3 guys left from the 2013 roster, Julio Teheran, Freddie Freeman, and Eric O'Flaherty, are all complete crap at the beginning of this season. It's as if all the things I'd grown to love about the Braves over the last 10 years have fallen apart. Nothing is left that's functional, and the other pieces have been scattered to the 4 winds or retired.

We need a win. We need it like oxygen. Or we're going to set a record for the worst start in franchise history this weekend.

Braves lost 6-2, drop to 0-9 on the season.


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