May 6, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy throws the ball to first base on a Colorado Rockies ground out at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Carpenean-USA TODAY Sports

Beachy Returns: Rockies @ Braves Preview

Atlanta Braves fans are excited about the return of Brandon Beachy to the rotation, and for good reason.  Beachy will take the mound tonight in game 1 of the four game series against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field in Atlanta, and be back on the bump for the big club for the first time since June 16, 2012.

You will recall that Brandon injured his elbow in that outing and had to have Tommy John surgery last year.  He was expected to be back even sooner, but after what appeared a successful and timely rehab, he developed tendinitis that led to a delay in his return.  Beachy was pitching very well before the injury with a National League leading 2.00 ERA, and the club hopes he will be able to return to the fine form he had prior to the injury.  Beachy struggled in his rehab starts at first, but got better and better, and all indications are that he is healthy and ready to start for Atlanta again.

Beachy’s return to form is a huge need for the Atlanta Braves at the moment, particularly in view of the recent loss of Tim Hudson for the rest of the season.  Tim suffered a fractured right ankle while covering first base in a recent start, and will miss the rest of the season.

The Braves have talked about trying to get a starting pitcher before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, but that still remains to be seen.  It’s even less certain now that the Braves have acquired LOOGY reliever Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels in a trade for Cory Rasmus.  While the Braves could still get their hands on a starter, it appears that for now they are putting their faith in Brandon Beachy and Alex Wood to step in and fill the gaping hole left by Hudson’s exit, and Paul Maholm now being placed on the DL to make room for Downs.  No one should realistically expect Brandon to take the mound tonight and throw a gem, but t he’ll certainly have the opportunity to pitch toward trying to secure a spot replacing Tim Hudson.  If things work out well for Beachy, and also Wood, then Maholm could find himself outside the rotation when he comes off the DL.  Only time will tell how all that will work out.

Taking the mound in game 1 for the Rockies will be Jorge De La Rosa.  Rumors have swirled for sometime that the Braves might be interested in trade talks for Jorge, but in my opinion the Rockies would be foolish to lose him.  De La Rosa is 10-5 on the year with a 2.97 ERA, and with a 6.2 SO/9 and a 3.1 BB/9, the Rockies should probably hold on to Jorge.  Trade talks aside, De La Rosa is no easy task for hitters, but the Atlanta Braves certainly proved they have the chops to play small ball as well as long ball in their series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Braves will hope to maintain that same offensive momentum against the Rockies as well as the same kind of pitching prowess showed by Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, and to a lesser degree Kris Medlen.

It will be interesting to see how well Brandon Beachy handles the pressure of a return to the staring rotation tonight, and interesting to see if the Atlanta Braves can continue producing runs and playing great defense like they did in the Cardinals series.

Pitching Probables

Game 1

ATL: Brandon Beachy (0-0, 0.00 ERA )
COL: Jorge De La Rosa (10-5, 2.97 ERA)

Game 2

ATL: Alex Wood (3.42 ERA)
COL: Juan Nicasio (6-4, 4.40 ERA)

Game 3

ATL: Mike Minor (10-5, 2.89 ERA)
COL: Tyler Chatwood (7-3, 2.48 ERA)

Game 4

ATL: Julio Teheran (7-5, 3.07 ERA)
COL: Undecided

 Of Note

When asked about Beachy’s return, Atlanta Manager Fredi Gonzalez said…

(It’s) like getting a big piece in a trade at the deadline. Before he got hurt he was one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League,” Gonzalez said. ”I don’t think he’ll be that his first time out, but I think he’ll be close.’

When Beachy was asked about his first time on the bump in a long while for the big club, the right-hander said he’s ready to go….

I feel good now and I’ve felt good ever since that point I was shut down,” Beachy said. “I’m going to go out there and take the ball and keep it until they take it away from me.

Fredi Gonzalez went on to say they plan to limit Beachy to 100 pitches, which is not much of a limit since that’s about how much most clubs limit all pitchers.  That tells me that they have complete confidence, at the very least, that Beachy is 100% healthy.

The Rockies have dropped 14 of the last 18 meetings with Atlanta, and the Braves have won 8 of the last 9 home games against the team from Colorado.  The Braves should watch out for hot bats in Michael Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki.

According to a recent tweet from Mark Bowman, Scott Downs should arrive in Atlanta around 6 pm and be ready to go as early as this evening in relief…..


Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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