OK, so maybe he’s not being punished for talking out of school. Brandon Beachy will get the start for the Braves tonight against the Phillies. Jair Jurrjens has been scratched with a bum knee. It’s Beachy’s big league debut.
I kind of like Beachy, actually. He just turned 24. Between AAA and AA this year he’s 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA, mostly out of the pen. The thing I like the most is that he has struck out 148 dudes in 119 innings while walking only 28.
Still, let the record reflect that in this week’s three-game series, the Phillies will be running out pitchers with 765 starts among them. The Braves will be running out a trio with 59 combined major league starts. Fifty-two of those starts are from the old man of the group, Tommy Hanson. Against the best team in baseball according to some marginal ranking systems.
Let the record also reflect that, once this news was announced a few minutes ago, my Phillies Phriends on Twitter had the same, simultaneous response: oh, god, the last thing the Phillies need is to face some rookie we’ve never seen before. Dash Treyhorn’s response may have had a bit of hyperbole to it, but I sense real dread: “The Phils would have a better shot against King Felix than a rookie making his MLB debut.”
Such anxiety for a fan base that should have very little of it these days. Further evidence of it was on display when, after ranking Philly first in today’s Power Rankings, the primary response was “you tryin’ to jinx us?” This from people who get really angry whenever I call Philly fans insecure.
But hey: no pressure. The champion-presumptive of Major League Baseball is going nuclear by throwing its three best starters against a faltering team who are throwing out a trio of starters who probably have shaved six times combined.
The Nationals lost a heartbreaker on Tuesday night, as the Indians overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Nationals 7-6. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced five batters but was unable to record an out, yielding a leadoff walk, a double, a bunt that ended up very successful due to a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error, an intentional walk, and a single. Oliver Perez came in and eventually allowed one of his inherited runners to score, saddling Papelbon with the loss.
Papelbon also served up four runs in the outing before Tuesday’s, on Saturday against the Padres. The two clubs entered the top of the ninth tied 6-6, but a walk followed by three two-out singles and a bases-clearing double off of Papelbon allowed the Padres to take a 10-6 lead.
On the season, Papelbon is 19-for-22 in save chances with a 4.18 ERA and a 30/12 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings. If the season were to end today, the right-hander’s 21.4 percent strikeout rate would be the lowest mark of his career and his 8.6 percent walk rate would be his highest mark since 2010.
Manager Dusty Baker didn’t indicate that he’s going to make a change at closer, but he sounded dissatisfied with Papelbon’s performance thus far. Via Mark Zuckerberg of MASN, Baker said, “He doesn’t have his command, which is evident when you walk the leadoff hitter. But it’s like, what do you say? How does he look? Right now he doesn’t look like Pap. He doesn’t look very good. Usually he doesn’t walk people like that.”
The non-waiver trade deadline is on Monday, August 1. The Nationals, at 58-42, still have a four-game lead over the Marlins and a 4.5-game lead over the Mets. Tuesday’s loss has motivated the club to attempt to upgrade the bullpen, Jon Morosi reports. The Nationals were in the mix for Aroldis Chapman before the Yankees sent him to the Cubs. Perhaps Andrew Miller could be next on the Nats’ wish list.
The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday night that the club traded reliever Drew Storen and some cash to the Mariners in exchange for reliever Joaquin Benoit.
Storen, 28, was designated for assignment by the Jays on Sunday after posting a 6.21 ERA with a 32/10 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. The Jays acquired him during the offseason from the Nationals in exchange for Ben Revere and a player to be named later.
Benoit, 38, struggled as well, putting up a 5.18 ERA with a 28/15 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings with the Mariners.