Braves: Kyle Wright reminds us again that he might not be ready

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Following their first off-day of the season, the Braves began a three-game set with the first place Marlins (I’ll give you 100 dollars if you predicted back in March that would be the case on August 14th). Game 1 featured a battle of 24-year-olds — top prospect and the 2017 5th overall pick, Kyle Wright, against Venezuelan born Pablo Lopez.

Wright’s been a bit of a roller coaster through the first month of the season, often looking like a young arm ready to make a name for himself before totally losing control in the third or fourth inning. However, he was coming off his best start of the season (and possibly his career) against the Phillies, allowing four earned runs over six innings, with all four runs coming via the home run in one forgetful inning.

As usual, the early frames for the former Vanderbilt Commodore were a breeze. He retired the Marlins in order in the first, throwing just four pitches, and allowed only one baserunner in the second via a walk. But unfortunately, that free pass was a foreshadowing of what was to come in the third, where everything came unraveled for Wright.

Wright began the third inning on the right track with a strikeout. However, he walked the ninth batter in the Marlins order, who stole second and was brought home on an “excuse me” double just over Austin Riley’s head down the third baseline. The damage could have stopped right there — Jesus Aguilar flew out for the second out — but the self-inflicted wounds were only beginning.

Wright proceeded to walk the next three batters in a row, bringing in the second Marlins run before finally getting Francisco Cervelli to line out to end the inning. He then walked the first batter of the fourth frame, which brought Brian Snitker out of the dugout, turning to the bullpen much earlier than he would have liked.

For Wright, it was a tailor-made situation for success. Four runs over six innings isn’t spectacular, but he showed resilience and a willingness to attack batters. It was something to build off of, and it should have given him plenty of confidence heading into a start against a much worse Marlins lineup that was missing half of their players. Nevertheless, Wright couldn’t take advantage.

Under normal circumstances, the Braves would be evaluating all of their options looking to replace him in the rotation, but these aren’t normal circumstances, and they don’t have much choice but to keep sending Wright out there and hope he figures it out. That’s not exactly a recipe for long-term success. Here’s what he had to say following the performance:

The frustrating part about Wright is that he really does seem close, but like Newcomb, he is so far away. He has the stuff to make lineups freeze, but he can’t get out of his own way with walks and deep counts. Through four starts this season, he’s only made it through 15 innings, allowing 16 free passes. That’s not going to lead to success at any level of professional baseball, especially in the majors.

Unfortunately, for the Braves, the bullpen wasn’t as sharp as it has been all season, and their bats didn’t come up with the timely hits, leading to a Marlins win and extending their lead in the division to two games over the Braves. Atlanta now just sits a game over .500, and considering their rotation woes and current injury situation, their confidence has to be on the descent after a promising start to this shortened season.

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