What a tale of two games. The first game saw Max Fried pitch two scoreless innings, but a line drive to the back side caused him to exit. Kolby Allard, called up to be the 6th man, came in in the 3rd and got lit up pretty good, giving up back-to-back home runs to Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman (no great crime at all) and then a garden variety pounding later. The Braves tried to come back, and Cult Hero Charlie Culberson contributed another home run, but it was to no avail.
Kolby Allard has drawn quite a bit of criticism in his two performances, but I can’t bring myself to change my opinion on him just yet. He pitched reasonably well all the way into the 6th inning in his first start until he wore down. Remember that it was his first start, it was delayed by rain, and — not that he shouldn’t be able to do so — he spent some time on the base paths as well. The emotional and physical exhaustion for a 20-year old probably got to him in the 6th. And with this outing, he’s facing a much better and deeper lineup, he’s coming out of relief, and many of our prospects have struggled in that role.
Did I mention he’s 20? His velocity is down, and he’s not an elite prospect to the level of Wright, Touki, or even the way Ian Anderson is evaluated. He’s a MOR or BOR starting prospect at best, and he’s got plenty of time to learn how to pitch with lower velocity. I’m glad he took a pounding, and he can go back down to AAA to continue to work on his approach.
The second game was much better! Sean Newcomb pitched a strong performance, matching Max Scherzer frame-by-frame, and Charlie Culberson put yet another big home run in the seats. If you told me Culberson would have more home runs this year than in all of his other major league seasons combined, I’d thought they accidentally sent Chris Taylor from LA. This is still a young team, this team is still developing, and this team is fighting against a pre-season World Series contender inning-by-inning, and like I said in April, May, June, and July, enjoy the season as it comes.