Reflection on Kyle Wright, New Sponsorships, and Clint on Pitching Question Marks

Hey crew! To try to bring in some revenue to the site, we’ve set up a few sponsorships that will be a part of our team so we can get away from those pesky Google Ads. It’ll take a few months to determine if the sites are mutually beneficial for us, but the best thing you can do as a regular Braves Journaler would be to consider purchasing through the sites if it’s your bag.

Introducing DugoutMugs

MLB Baseball Bat Drinking Mugs - Perfect Gift for Baseball Fans

Long have I admired Nate Logos and his creation, Dugout Mugs. He’s living the dream as he started small and has now grown to be an officially licensed product.

This week, they are having a World Series giveaway and it would really help if you took the short amount of time to make your prediction. Below are the details.

Image

Also, ALL Braves Journalers get 30% off purchases using promo code “Journal” when checking out, so be sure to put that in your back pocket come Christmastime!

The Betting Type?

One of the most respected online Gambling site, Betway.com reached out to me last week in regards to a sponsorship. Every now and again, you’ll see me throw odds up for specific games, but nothing too major to distract from the reading (that’s their request…they’d rather not be annoying). It’ll be subtle and only every now and again.

Now that is out of the way, let’s take a look at Kyle Wright‘s performance last night then move on to Clint’s piece.

A Different Kyle Wright

Kyle Wright was different last night. When the Braves drafted Wright, it was clear he was going to be a project because he had been a starter but got hurt, and was turned closer. The Braves had no intentions of putting him in the bullpen and immediately threw him in the rotation. He’s been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde, but last night was a really good change.

First off, he commanded the zone. Not one single pitch last night was middle middle and/or predictable. Command is such a fickle thing and he’s likely still a work in progress, especially in multiple innings. However, last night was a good sign that if the Braves wanted to transition him to a late-inning relief option sometime in the future, it might work out really well.

Another a-ha last night was the depth in his curve. For the most part, he was FB/CB in his 1 inning and the curve was brilliant with 2 plane break that traveled through 4 zones before getting to its final destination. That’s something to keep an eye on going forward

Lastly…a short and simple wind-up. He seemed to channel his inner-Max Fried and threw away any unnecessary movement. It was definitely different and could be something that has two-fold benefit: helping stay mechanically sound and less “eye-spying” when it comes to picking up pitches.

Clint on Questions Surrounding Pitching Going Forward

After everything seemed to break right for the Braves in Game 1 of the World Series (save for the loss of Charlie Morton of course), on Wednesday the Astros answered by winning 7-2 to tie up the series before heading to Truist Park for Friday’s Game 3. We should’ve known that the second-best club in the AL would eventually find its groove.

The matchup featured a bit of a starter’s duel, even though it took a while to materialize. Both Max Fried and José Urquidy went exactly five innings apiece last night, but for the former it came much tougher. Fried surrendered five runs combined within the first two frames, thanks to six hits by Houston’s loaded lineup. Meanwhile, Urquidy didn’t seem to break a sweat until his last inning, allowing just four hits through the first four, including a solo-homer from Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud. By the time each team turned to its bullpen, it was still very much a ballgame as the Astros led 5-2 heading into the sixth.

This is why I’m glad I’m not the manager of an MLB team. With 86 pitches from his starter, and a deficit still manageable (although it had increased to 6-2 following a fielder’s choice), but not guaranteed to be overcome over the next three innings, skipper Brian Snitker needed to decide whether he was going to try and shut down the Astros with his high-leverage regulars, or if it was time to start thinking about bullpen preservation. He sort of chose in-betweenas he brought in an impressive-of-late Drew Smyly to work the seventh and perhaps kick the can down the road a bit. Naturally, the lefty’s very first pitch to Houston’s Jose Altuve was crushed to left for a solo-homer, instantly making Snitker’s next decision pretty simple. As expected, the Braves finished up the game by using a newly-added Kyle Wright, who actually pitched very well, striking out the side in the eighth.

That Atlanta spent this entire game trailing and still only used five pitchers is surprising. But primarily it’s because Fried was able to settle down after those first pair of innings; per FanGraphs’ Luke Hooper, the lefty induced four whiffs (9.3% SwStr%) in the first two frames, compared to nine whiffs (25% SwStr%) in the latter three frames. Fried obviously didn’t have his best stuff last night, but his length was absolutely critical as it allowed Snitker to save his best relievers.

With just two games down, though, Atlanta has only one more traditional starter, in righty Ian Anderson, who’ll likely take the bump for Friday’s Game 3. After that, there could be some shuffling, especially now that Morton isn’t an option. If we thought it was crucial for Fried to go deep into his start, it’s even more pivotal that Anderson does so, for the last thing the Braves need is a 2-1 series deficit AND a worn-out bullpen heading into Saturday’s Game 4. We just saw this with the Dodgers… and it wasn’t pretty.

According to The Athletic’s David O’Brien, Snitker is considering two bullpen games following Anderson’s outing tomorrow:

“The bullpen’s going to play a big part obviously in what we’ve got going on, because we lost a huge starter in Morton. So we’re going to have probably two games in a row (Games 4-5) that we’re going to have to pitch 18 innings (total) out of that bullpen.”

As O’Brien mentioned in his recap on Thursday morning, the sharpness from Wright in that eighth inning was refreshing and may just have earned him a role in the Braves pitching plans over the next few games. Basically, any way that Snitker can avoid needlessly using the trio of Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter and Will Smith… the better. Unless he comes back up on short rest, it’s likely we won’t see Fried until Game 6, which with a tied series, obviously isn’t a guarantee.

Like any game, though, the only thing Atlanta can control is the next game they play. More important than anything else is making sure Anderson is ready to go on Friday.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

31 thoughts on “Reflection on Kyle Wright, New Sponsorships, and Clint on Pitching Question Marks”

  1. There is something comical about a damaged liver ad sandwiched between beer related ads.

    I had thought for sure Kyle was the game 4 starter so I was really surprised to see him when the game was pretty much gone last night. He did look great so I hope he does get a start.

    Listening to MLB radio today they were REALLY shocked that the call at 2B didn’t get overturned. It’s pretty clear now that every close call is going against Atlanta. Has anyone else noticed how mlb has pushed Dusty’s friendship with Henry Aaron as a reason why it would be super for his team to win the World Series? There seems to be very little mlb marketing on how the Braves are Henry’s team, that Atlanta is his town and how HIS team made it to the World Series the same year he passed? Maybe with the return to Atlanta tomorrow the marketing will change. But I am REALLY sick of 10 of 11 calls going against Atlanta.

  2. Don’t at all mind the sponsorships, but I gotta say that drinking out of the end of a bat does not have any appeal. Made me think of Melky, not a good association.

  3. Padres are hiring Bob Melvin and not Ron Washington.

    Of course, now the A’s need a manager, so…

  4. Him, I mean. Not them. “Them” is not an individual pronoun.

    Really happy for Kyle Wright. My hope for Spencer Strider maybe could happen with Wright: dominate in a blowout, get another chance in a closer game, and then become a factor later in the series in a close game. If he’s a reliever, he’s a reliever. Just get something out of him. And if they end up making him a reliever, maybe give him more of a chance than they gave Wisler and Sims.

  5. With all the creative roster decisions and the drama surrounding Atlanta’s playoff and World Series roster, I checked Houston’s 26 man roster and it was nothing like Atlanta. The only really inexperienced player they have is Jose Siri, who has only logged 46 career plate appearances (all this year). Blake Taylor logged the least innings from their bullpen with 42.2.

    For Atlanta, Lee, Wright, and Davidson all logged 20 innings or less and Gore and Arcia didn’t see much playing time during the regular season. Definitely a different post-season philosophy.

  6. @12

    Forecast I’m seeing is they should be able to get it in with no worse than a delayed start. Since this is all MLB’s decision, though, could they get antsy and just say not tonight? Yeah, I’d say they could.

  7. I hope that inning is a good sign of things to come of Wright, but I’ve seen him completely fall apart the 2nd time through the order after dominating the first time through before.

    If he does start or is a bulk guy, I wouldn’t have him face them more than 1 TTO.

  8. Assuming that we do get a game in, Ryan, could you please re-post a link to the politics thread?

    Because it’s the Atlanta home opener, there is already a ton of Chop-related coverage in national media, and there will be lots more. I have plenty of thoughts on that, obviously, like all of us do, and I REALLY don’t want any of that happening in the game thread.

  9. I don’t know who a rainout benefits more since both rotations are significantly under-manned at this point. I thought we had a huge rotation advantage before Morton went down, but now I’d say it’s about even and therefore the Astros have the advantage for the duration of this series.

    There’s a game I think we can win where Wright goes 2+ innings getting through the order one time, Davidson for one inning against mostly lefties, then Chavez for 2, and then Minter, Jackson, Matzek, and Smith. But I have no idea what happens the next game. But with Fried being largely horrible in the postseason and Anderson only being one guy, I’m struggling to see where there are 4 wins in this series. But, I’ve been wrong almost completely since late July, so maybe I should just keep thinking the pixie dust will wear off and we’ll hoist the trophy.

  10. Rainout helps the bullpen more than anything. Matzek, Minter, et. al., have to be running on low fuel at this point.

  11. @20

    I mean…only two games in the Dodgers series went like the pitching matchup said it should. And neither of those two games were won because of the starting pitcher. We’ve won bullpen games all postseason. We’ve been better in them, actually. I’m starting to think the problem is you guys think the Astros are the ’27 Yankees. Our bullpen skunked them in Game 1, though. Not sure why that doesn’t count for anything.

    @21

    The bullpen (at least in terms of the main guys) has pitched twice in the last eight days. They’re fine. If a rainout means we have to play five days in a row, that could be a problem, on the other hand.

  12. @20 Lets hope you are wrong on this as well Rob…lol.

    I think the home cooking is going to make a huge difference. This team feasts off of the energy that the home crowd provides and I look forward to the offense busting out again.

  13. @22 – Agreed, we’ll need that off day Monday more than tonight.

    I would not be surprised if Snit goes back to Minter for multiple innings in game 4 or 5, before any of the rookies. However, you can have a framework for what you want to do, but it’s really inning by inning from here out.

  14. Amen!

    Then lat us pray that come it may
    As come it will for aa that
    That sense an worth ower aa the earth
    Sall bear the gree an aa that
    For aa that, an aa that
    It’s comin yet for aa that
    That man tae man the hale warl ower
    Sall brithers be for aa that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *