Are the Astros this good or are the Braves this bad? Probably a little bit of both. The Astros are surprisingly the best team in baseball even though they’ve had injuries and ineffectiveness in their starting rotation. The Braves threw Sean Newcomb and Jaime Garcia, two starters who have been pitching well for the most part. Freddie Freeman also returned to the lineup, and we are remarkably one of the most healthy teams in baseball right now. None of that mattered. Yesterday, Jaime Garcia was the next starting pitcher to have to pitch against the best offense in baseball. But it didn’t go well, and the bullpen didn’t help things either.
Jaime actually started out fine, giving up one run on a bloop Evan Gattis single that dropped between Brandon Phillips and Nick Markakis (I contend one of them should have caught it, but I digress). But the floodgates opened with 3 runs in the 5th, and then the bullpen allowed Jaime’s only runner of the 7th to score. By the time the 7th was over, the starting pitcher and bullpen had given up 7 runs, and that was enough. Matt Wisler pitched the 8th and 9th, after throwing 7 innings down in Gwinnett three days previous, and he gave up 3 runs of his own. It’s hard to defend Matt Wisler‘s 7.41 ERA, but I doubt Atlanta would have treated Newcomb, Lucas Sims, Patrick Weigel, etc. that way. They seem to have a plan for him and it isn’t to give him the best opportunity to have major league success at this point.
And to compound problems, Matt Kemp, Matt Adams, Tyler Flowers, and Dansby Swanson are all mired in mini-slumps. Kemp is probably injured again, but there’s really no one to spell him for long periods of time in LF. At some point you could look at Sean Rodriguez or Micah Johnson for a time in LF, but Danny Santana, Lane Adams, and Jace Peterson all cannot hit. Kemp may not be a 162 game guy, and he may need a solid LF caddy for the duration.
The Astros are a good team. So are the Nationals, and we’ll be playing them 4 times coming up.