When the Braves signed Robbie Erlin earlier this month after he was DFA’d by the Pirates — one of the worst teams in baseball — I don’t think anyone imagined he would soon be a fixture in the rotation. However, following the collapses of Sean Newcomb and Kyle Wright, Brian Snitker wasn’t left with too many choices and none with more experience than the 29-year-old southpaw.
Erlin’s first start came on August 16th against the Marlins, and he pitched wonderfully, tossing four shutout innings and striking out five while allowing just one hit. However, it seems as if that was a bit of fool’s gold, as Erlin hasn’t been nearly as effective in his two outings since.
Both of Erlin’s last two starts have come against the Phillies, and he has made it through four innings each time. However, he’s allowed three home runs, leading to six earned runs. His ERA for the year is now an even six. With the Braves, it’s 6.14, and his 7.31 FIP doesn’t suggest there is much reason to believe he will turn things around.
If the Braves are true to themselves, they probably got more out of Erlin than they ever expected. However, it’s time for this experiment of him as a starting pitcher to end. Atlanta will likely acquire at least one starter at the trade deadline. To fill out the rest of the rotation, they should continue to give their young arms an opportunity, whether it be guys we’ve already seen like Kyle Wright or new faces like Patrick Weigel and Tucker Davidson. All of those options have a ton more upside the Erlin, and they likely can’t perform too much worse.
Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire