Consequences of Braves' slimmed-down bullpen; more
MAY 17, 2013 5:03p ET
FOX SPORTS SOUTH: With Jason Heyward's return, the Braves put Jordan Walden on the 15-day DL. That leaves them with a six-man bullpen. Do you see any potential consequences with that slimmed down 'pen?
CHIP CARAY: I think a slimmed down bullpen isn't a problem if your starters are going deep into games on a consistent basis and that not been the case over the last 10 days.
Tim Hudson had two bad starts on the road trip and other than Mike Minor and Julio Teheran, the rest of the staff really has struggled; their pitching to a 6.70 ERA over the last week.
The results of that is obviously more innings pitched by your bullpen and while the bullpen has been overall had been strong, in the month of May they have had some troubles too with Craig Kimbrel up in Cincinnati and they've issued their far share of walks.
Short term, I think a slimmed down bullpen in theory is going to work if your starters pitch well and the Braves, I'm sure, are hopeful that their starters are going to turn things around on this home stand against the Dodgers and the Twins.
Limiting those innings is the goal of every major-league bullpen and you'd like to have your starters go seven and then have your eighth inning guy and your ninth inning guy pitch.
The Braves have had to have Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan out there a lot and Walden had already been limited before going on the DL with shoulder inflammation.
I believe your bullpen is as good as your starting pitching and your starting pitching is as good as your bullpen. Right now we're in a stretch where the starters have fallen behind and their giving up an average 5-6 runs on average as a crew and that's not what they want and they'll get it turned around.
FSS: Brandon Beachy is making progress in his return from Tommy John surgery. Going into the season, a lot of people thought that when he was ready, Julio Teheran was probably going to have to be the odd man out. But we've seen Julio pitch extremely well since his first couple of outings. What have you seen out of him of late?
CC: I think he's got a little more confident.
He still has trouble in early innings of games. The last start against Arizona he pitched pretty good baseball. He gave up his share of hits and tried to do a little too much on a ground ball that Freddie Freeman couldn't get to and that ended up costing two runs in the game.
He's got a good fastball but he's still struggling to command that consistently. He's got a good change-up and when he throws that it's a very, very good pitch for him. We have not seen a very sharp breaking ball from him yet. I believe hat he has one, but he hasn't thrown it consistently yet.
He's pitching like a 22-year-old kid feeling his way through the major leagues. He's not doing anything wrong, but you can see he's a raw diamond. He's been pulled out of the earth and he has to get polished and cut a little bit.
It's the job of Brian McCann and Gerald Laird to try and nurture him through these learning stages without costing him a lot of runs or ultimately games.
To his credit he's pitched well enough to keep the Braves in ballgames. They've won every start but one that's made and he's doing what you want a starter to do, which is give you a chance to win every game out there.
He's learning at the major-league level and the lessons he's learning are ones we hope will be invaluable to him as he continues his career.
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