For years, the Braves have stuck with Sean Newcomb, attempting to make him a starter, but we may have just seen him make his final start with a tomahawk across his chest. After finally looking like he was turning the corner in his last outing, Newk completely imploded Monday night in Philadelphia, giving up eight earned runs and recording just four outs.
When Brian Snitker pulled the plug, I sprung to my computer, ready to type up why this should be Newcomb’s final chance — at least for this year. However, I refrained from starting because it almost felt like an absolute certainty that the Braves would either move him to the bullpen or option him altogether after such a horrid performance. He was completely discombobulated, had no control of his pitches, and it was easy to tell his confidence is entirely shot as a starter.
After the game, the Braves made it official, demoting Newcomb to their camp in Gwinnett.
Newcomb has been optioned to the alternate site at Gwinnett.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) August 11, 2020
Here’s what Brian Snitker had to say about the decision:
— 680 The Fan (@680TheFan) August 11, 2020
Even though Atlanta has questions up and down their rotation outside of Max Fried, they were left with no other option but to move on from Newcomb for the time being. In four starts, he only made it through 13.2 innings, boasting a gaudy 11.20 ERA. The 27-year-old southpaw no longer is giving the team the best chance to win, and it’s time for the Braves to give another one of their talented young arms an opportunity.
Currently, Brian Snitker has yet to announce a starter for their game on Wednesday, which would typically be Mike Soroka’s spot. It could be a bullpen game, or the Braves might decide to roll with one of their young prospects. They also have to find a replacement for Newcomb, who was scheduled to pitch next on Saturday. So if the Braves don’t go with one of their highly-touted prospects on Wednesday, they likely will this weekend. Either way, they are running out of options and need answers fast.
As far as Newcomb goes, the Braves will likely send him to Gwinnett camp for at least a few days, let him re-calibrate a bit, and then give him a shot out of the bullpen, where he thrived last season. Sean Newcomb — the starter — may be dead in Atlanta, but he can still be a valuable piece to the Braves already loaded relief core.