Thursday, June 13, 2013

What happens when Brandon Beachy returns?

The date was June 16, 2012. Braves P Brandon Beachy was making his 13th start of the season against the Baltimore Orioles at Turner Field. Beachy at the time, was leading the Major Leagues with a 2.00 ERA. After allowing a run on no hits, a walk, and struck out five Orioles, Beachy left the game after just 3 2/3 innings pitched with right elbow discomfort. Beachy has had bone spurs in the past and the Braves initially thought it had flared up again. While in New York for a three-game set with the Yankees, Fredi Gonzalez revealed Beachy's MRI to the media and the news was anything, but good. The MRI revealed a partial tear in his elbow which would require the dreaded Tommy John surgery. The timetable for recovery is 12-15 months.
News Photo: Brandon Beachy of the Atlanta Braves pitches against…
ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 16: Brandon Beachy #37 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Turner Field on June 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

A year later, Beachy will make his 2013 debut in one of the doubleheader games on Tuesday against the Mets in Atlanta, which arises the question, what happens to the rotation after Beachy's start?There are plenty of ways to go about this situation. The Braves can go with the six-man rotation, put one starter in the bullpen, or put Beachy in the bullpen. Now, speaking of putting a starter in the bullpen, the two starters that pop up the most in the midst of this are Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran. Both pitchers have pitched well to this point. Teheran had the near no-hitter against the Pirates last Wednesday afternoon. Medlen has racked up the quality starts, but receives little to no run support, thus his 3-6 record. Should they put one of those guys in the bullpen for Beachy? I don't think so. The Braves are the ONLY team in baseball to use the same starting rotation from Opening Day. With this rotation, the Braves are 39-27 through 66 games this season to go along with a 5.5 game lead in the NL East. The six-man rotation could work, but for a veteran like Tim Hudson, it may screw around with his in-between starts routine. Then there is the "Kris Medlen" approach. Fredi Gonzalez could put Beachy in the bullpen and use him in long relief for the time being. There is no reason to rush him back into the rotation especially with no injuries to any starter.

Karl Moore
Karl Moore

This is a good problem to have for the Braves, but in my opinion, Brandon Beachy should be placed in the bullpen. The Braves' rotation is among the best in the Majors ERA-wise, so why try to fix something if it isn't broken? Also, who knows if Beachy will be as dominant as he was in 2012 as soon as he gets back? Fredi Gonzalez stated recently that the decision will be made based on what's best for the team. Whatever decision he makes will have some kind of an impact going down the stretch. Let me know what you guys think of the situation on my Twitter page.

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