In one of their toughest games of the season, the Braves lose 5-0 to the Baltimore Orioles, and that may not even be the worst news. Brandon Beachy retired the first eleven batters he faced, walking Chris Davis with two outs in the fourth and then leaving due to the elbow soreness that pushed his start back to tonight. While there is nothing concrete to speculate about,elbow soreness rarely results in a brief period of missed action.
For the Orioles, Jason Hammel gave the bullpen a night off, throwing nine brilliant innings of one-hit ball. He only allowed three line drives, one of which was the Jason Heyward single in the 7th to break up the no-hit bid. He also kept the ball on the ground, with 10 of the other 16 batted balls hit on the ground, good for a 52.6% ground ball rate. Combining that and his 2 BB (both to Uggla), 8 K performance, he managed a 1.95 FIP and 2.91 xFIP.
The Braves pitching staff did fairly well in their own rights. They held the Baltimore bats to just six singles, along with 4 walks and 11 strikeouts. Usually, a .200/.294/.200 line by an offense will not yield five runs, but they scored in every inning they got a runner on base except the eighth. Brian Roberts and Steve Pearce each had two hits, while Mark Reynolds and Wilson Betemit had the other two hits.
Tomorrow’s probables for the 1:35 ET start are Randall Delgado and Wei-Yin Chen. The lefty Chen has shown an effective four-seam fastball and circle-change, while both his slider and curveball are getting hammered. The velocity isn’t great, sitting at 90-91, but there is extra “life” on it, much like Beachy, causing hitters to consistently swing underneath the pitch. As one would expect, he is a flyball pitcher, just over 40% of all batted balls going skyward. He has not shown much of a platoon split, though his walk and K rates are somewhat surprisingly better against lefties, despite the 4-seam/changeup combo. Hopefully, the Braves won’t be tempted to chase the fastballs above the belt and make Chen throw the ball in the zone, making him much more hittable.