Ryan Braun is back in the starting lineup tonight against the Diamondbacks. He was held out of the lineup the previous two days after leaving Saturday’s game with recurring tightness in his left calf.
While this is a positive development for a lineup that was blanked by Josh Collmenter last night, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Braun won’t play all nine innings. Instead, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke would prefer to ease him back into the lineup.
“We’re going to try to get him back where there are no setbacks,” said Roenicke. “He felt great today; he wanted to play. It may be on an off (between nine innings and shorter appearances). A lot depends on how he feels. I saw him running yesterday and he was really good. He’s way better than he was a few days ago.”
Braun has missed 10 out of the last 13 games with the injury and while he told Haudricourt that he’s “done talking” about the injury and just wants to play, this seems like a very risky thing to do with one of your most important players.
If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.
Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.
The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.
At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.
Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.
Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.
Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.
Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.