Last night’s game ended the way it’s ended the last week or so for the Braves — in heartbreak.
Ketel Marte stayed hot, delivering a pinch-hit RBI single to give Arizona the win 3-2 in the 10th, giving the Braves their fourth loss in a row.
Within the current cold streak, an underlying problem keeps rearing its ugly head; our bullpen woes.
#Braves pitchers have issued a majors-high 162 walks, while no other NL team has issued more than 143. (White Sox and Rangers have 151.)
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) May 10, 2019
Now, I’m not downplaying Luke Jackson, whose late-inning run is his first in 15 fantastic innings. I’m merely saying there’s a discernible need for the Braves that remains unfixed and, if we want to see a repeat of our 2018 success, something needs to be done.
The Braves’s silver linings last night came in the form of a Josh Donaldson home run and another strong outing from young phenom Mike Soroka. The young fireballer has proven himself a force to be reckoned with in the fleeting Atlanta pitching staff, reaching some historic stats last night.
Mike Soroka is the first starter in MLB history to allow one run or fewer in eight of his first 10 starts. #Braves
— Gabe Burns (@GabeBurnsAJC) May 10, 2019
In a perfect world, the Braves rotation would have 5 Mike Sorokas and the bullpen would be filled to the brim with Craig Kimbrels. But, sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world. So we need to make some improvements in the pitching staff. The trade deadline isn’t for a few months, so we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Game two of the Arizona series happens today. Let’s take a look at the matchups:
Julio Teheran: 2-4, 4.63 ERA
Julio Teheran, whose name became more a curse word in the mouth of Braves fans everywhere, continues to struggle a bit on the mound. The Braves hurler has seen more famine than fortune, posting only two starts all season long with less than three earned runs. The silver lining for Julio is his performance against Arizona, posting a .243 AVG with only 2 HR’s against tonight’s starting 9. If he can maintain control of his off-speed pitches, have good command of his fastball and, importantly, gain control of his long-ball problem, then we could see the losing streak snap and get back on the road to .500.
Zack Greinke: 5-1, 3.42
Tonight’s battle will prove to be a hard-fought one, as the Braves go up against one of the toughest pitchers over the last few seasons. Since getting rocked on opening day, Greinke has not posted a loss or given up more than three earned runs in any of his starts. Our key to victory tonight will be the same approach we need to take against Kershaw; get past the big fastball and be patient with the off-speed. Zack and the D-Backs won’t be an easy fight, as the Braves starting 9 are sitting at .236 against the seasoned veteran. But, only time will tell how the Braves fare tonight.
First pitch is scheduled for a late 9:40 P.M tonight. You can catch all the action on Fox Sports South or with an active MLB.TV subscription.