Today Braves loss wasn’t catastrophic and of course the Braves can’t win every game. However, today’s loss was easily predicted and almost as easily prevented. The goal today was to give Julio Teheran a breather against a sub 500 team playing mostly a AAA lineup. The original plan was to start Freddy Garcia but after he pitched on Sunday they decided to call up Kameron Loe – only Kameron Loe – and that was only their first and second mistake.
What Happened and What Didn’t
Loe started his last major league game on 3 September, 2007 for the Texas Rangers against the Royals. He lasted three innings giving up two runs on five hits and finished the season with a 5.36 ERA and 1.603 WHIP. The Braves are his fourth team this year and when he was called up for bullpen depth in July he made two appearances against the Mets. The first game (one inning) was easy enough but the second appearance the Mets scored three runs on four hits in an inning and a third. That Loe had been pitching well at AAA was the only thing going for him; it wasn’t enough. The Braves should have expected such an outing and could have been ready to get him out of the game at the first sign of trouble – like after Lucas Duda hit the second home run of the game in the third – but they didn’t. In fact they probably couldn’t without running up innings on their already tiring bullpen arms. That’s where the from office decision makers let them down.
The Braves have been very stingy with September call ups in recent years and no one has asked why when managers are consistently accused of over using bullpen arms, extra arms aren’t made available at the most critical time of the year. Today’s events bring that sharply into focus. The Braves could have easily called up some extra bullpen cover not just for today but for the rest of the season. As much as Teheran and Mike Minor can use a blow the bullpen arms of Luis Avilan and David Carpenter could also use a break. At Gwinnett with nowhere to go are veteran reliever Joe Beimel along with Juan Cedeno, Cody Martin and Wirfin Obispo. It’s not hard to imagine a veteran lefty like Beimel who put up a 4.36 ERA in his first year back from Tommy John surgery being useful this month and certainly he and any combination of the others could not have done worse than Loe.
That’s A Wrap
The Dodgers are one game behind us in the lost column for best record. I’m not a Fredi Gonzalez fan but there’s little else he could do with the resources he had at hand and I understand why he didn’t go to an already tired bullpen in the third inning. The Braves more than any other team need home field advantage in the post season and giving away games for any reason is unacceptable. Someone should explain why reinforcements weren’t called up but I’m afraid no one is actually going to ask.