Mike Minor demonstrated why he was sent to Gwinnett and Beachy got the starting job. It wasn’t just a jittery first inning when couldn’t find the plate, it was the general bad location and ineffectiveness of his pitches. The curve ball flashed a couple of times but the fastball and the change were very hittable. He never displayed any of the quality pitches he produced in spring training and really found his stride though the second inning looked like he might be on the way to doing just that. Minor left in the fourth after the Brew Crew extended their lead and the home plate umpire called Prince Fielder safe when the replay clearly showed McCann putting the tag on the big man’s tookus. More on that play later.
On the other side of the field they had no such problems early on as the Braves struggled against AAA call up Marco Estrada after scoring one and stranding two in the first when they had him on the ropes. After that he settled down and cruised until the top of the sixth when he left a fastball at Jason Heyward’s knees and it ended up deep in the right field stands. That three run blast brought the Braves within one run and they stayed there through the 8th. A superb double play turn by Gonzales emptied the bases before Will Nieves and Nyger Morgan singled off of Peter Moylan before Weeks struck out to end the inning. The Braves did get a runner in the 9th but couldn’t score off a very Wild John Axford who go the save for the Brewers though I’m sure he doesn’t know how.
So the Braves bats are mostly silent (until he tired) against a pitcher they’ve never seen and a Brewers bullpen that is. . .well lets say less than dependable and leave it at that. This happened so much down the stretch last year that I am sure teams were looking for pitchers we’d never seen just so they could get an advantage. I hope Larry Parrish has an answer that Terry Pendleton didn’t last year. Back for a moment to the missed call at the plate.
There really is no reason replay couldn’t be in place now. We don’t need any stupid challenge flags or limits on how many times it can be used. It would work this way. They already have an extra umpire at most games but if they don’t they could simply add one. The field umpires would all wear a earpiece so that the booth umpire can speak with them instantaneously. Everyone in the park knows when a play is close and going to generate an argument. So every close play would be reviewed automatically by the extra ump and the results given to the whole crew at once. By the time Fredi Gonzales was finished arguing tonight the review would have been complete and Fielder called out. Making ti any harder than that is simply mudding the waters in order to create confusion. The idiotic idea of limiting the number of reviews is ridiculous. That’s like saying the ump can only blow x calls a game which we’ve seen in some big games in the past is obviously not true. Would it have made a difference in the result tonight? I have no idea. On the other hand it would be nice if the bad positioning of the umpire wasn’t the deciding factor. Particularly when everyone else watching the game knows the call was incorrect.
Thursday night the Braves send Tommy Hanson to the mound against the Brewers Shaun Marcum. Hanson struggled to command his fastball – or anything else really – during his 3 2/3-innings in Saturday’s game against the Nationals. he will need to be sharper against a Brewer team whose bats are starting to heat up. Tommy is 1-2 with 3.81 ERA in four starts against the Brewers.
Shaun Marcum missed his next-to-last spring start because of a tight shoulder, and like Hanson was uncharacteristically wild in his regular-season start. Against the Reds last Saturday he lasted just 4 2/3 innings and walked five matching his career-high. Marcum is however a quality starter who last year was 13-8 with Toronto posting an ERA 3.64 and a WHIP of 1.15 in the extremely tough American League East. The other big problem for the Braves? Well, they’ve never faced him. and he lasted just poses several problems for the Braves. Only Alex Gonzales (once no BA) and Eric Hinske (nine times.111 BA) have faced Marcum. Let’s hope we have better luck than we had tonight.