Several well-known pitchers have carried the Atlanta Braves this
season, but rookie Brandon Beachy is starting to make a name for
himself as well.
Beachy takes the mound for Atlanta as it tries to extend the
longest current active winning streak in interleague play and
complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Baltimore Orioles on
The Braves (49-35) boast one of the best pitching staffs in
baseball, evidenced by their 3.04 ERA which is tied with
Philadelphia for lowest in the majors. The first two games of this
series have improved that number.
Jair Jurrjens threw a one-hitter during Friday’s 4-0 win to
become the NL’s first 11-game winner, and Tim Hudson improved to
3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five starts with six solid innings
during Saturday’s 5-4 victory – the Braves’ ninth straight during
The Orioles (35-45) don’t figure to see any dropoff against
Beachy (3-1, 3.04 ERA), who ranks second in ERA among rookies with
at least 50 innings. The right-hander, who was converted from
reliever to full-time starter with Double-A Mississippi around a
year ago, has looked more like a seasoned veteran than an
inexperienced 24-year-old of late.
Beachy compiled a 2.98 ERA and struck out 45 over his first
seven starts spanning 42 1-3 innings before getting hurt May 13.
He’s been even more overpowering since his return.
In his first outing since missing more than a month with a
strained left oblique, Beachy fanned a season-best 11 during a 5-1
victory over Toronto on June 22 and struck out nine in six innings
of Monday’s 3-1 win at Seattle. He became the first Braves rookie
since 1900 to combine for 20 or more strikeouts while winning
“He’s been able to command his fastball and throw the
curveball,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told Atlanta’s official website.
“Then his changeup keeps getting better and better.”
Beachy, though, has made it through seven innings just once in
10 starts this season.
“I’m wasting too many pitches. I would like to get deeper into
games,” he said. “I really need to get through seven, get into the
eighth inning. That’s just something I need to be able to do. I
need to be more efficient.”
Saturday’s loss was the fifth straight and dropped Baltimore a
season-worst 10 games below .500. The Orioles, who lost eight in a
row in April, will give the ball to rookie Zach Britton (6-6,
Since going 5-2 with a 2.14 ERA over his first nine outings, the
left-hander is 1-4 with a 5.22 mark over his past seven games.
He yielded four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of
Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to St. Louis, dropping to 0-2 with a 4.32 ERA in
three interleague starts.
“This is a 23-year-old young man trying to establish himself in
the big leagues with about half a year in Triple-A, and he’s doing
well,” manager Buck Showalter said. “…It’s a process for him and
he’s doing some things real well and some things he’ll do better as
he goes forward.”
On a positive note, third baseman Mark Reynolds hit his
team-leading 16th and 17th home runs Saturday.
“I don’t enjoy losing. I never have,” Reynolds said. “Obviously,
two home runs are nice but, I mean, it’s for nothing.”
Baltimore’s Nick Markakis had three hits Saturday, and is
batting .406 with three homers and 13 RBIs in his last 21