So I didn’t watch the game (DWTG). That’s the consequence of the day game (the supposed “Business Man Special” I believe Chip is always yammering about), and so it goes that without having seen a single pitch of this one in conjunction with the score and the named perpetrators (Wilson, Tomlin) that I think we will all be best served forgetting about this one. The Phillies have won four-straight and the Braves’ lead over the division drops to 4.5 games. Freeman hit his 22nd homer of the year, and Albies hit his 13th as well. /ballgame
There is another matter of certain high importance with which I’d like to use this space to discuss. As you may have already noticed, there’s a need for pitching on this team. There are a lot of folks who think the Braves really need a stopper/closer type of reliever to elevate this bullpen to playoff status, but I hold the somewhat unfortunate opinion that what this team is really in dire need of is a playoff-quality starting pitcher.
The Braves added to their starting rotation earlier this month with the acquisition of Dallas Keuchel. He is doing more or less precisely what I expect from him. He’ll have some better games than what we’ve seen, but his contribution to the Braves’ starting pitching ERA of 5.60 is what we ought to expect. That ERA, on the other hand, is a problem for this team going forward. Even though it’s a full run higher than their 4.67 FIP, at least some of that is fueled by Kevin Gausman who hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his FIP all season long. In short, I see no reason to expect things to get much better unless young pitching turns a corner.
The Braves’ starting rotation is in the somewhat uncomfortable hands of a pair of rookies, Mike Soroka and Max Fried, and the already-very-well-known commodity that is Julio Teheran. Plus Keuchel. With the bullpen being very productive (near the top of the rankings in the NL for June), the Braves should concentrate on a starting pitcher centerpiece in their trades. I happen to have a pretty good source who suggests the Braves are in multiple discussions for a starting pitcher + reliever deal not unlike last season’s Gausman trade. He assures me that at least one poential trade involves players in return are much better than last year’s deal, and that more than one discussion involves a starting pitcher who would be coming off the IL in time for a trade. Feel free to discuss.