Yesterday’s 16-13 loss to the Diamondbacks was a disaster for the Braves pitching staff from start to finish. It began with Bryce Elder, who gave up seven runs in 2.2 innings, but Atlanta would have walked away winners had the bullpen been able to hold up their end of the bargain.
Currently, the Braves relief core is without four of their top arms. That’s concerning in its own right because even if all four of them are able to return at some point, there’s no guarantee they will look like the same versions of themselves pre-injury. So, what’s the panic meter at with this group as August approaches?
Chase’s Panic Meter (1-10) scale: 2
I’m still very low on the panic meter for a few reasons. Yesterday was only one game, and the Diamondbacks just didn’t miss. I’m not going to overreact to such a small sample size. I also can’t overlook the fact that four of the Braves best relievers are on the IL. Of course, there are going to be games like this occasionally, especially when the starter only goes 2.2 innings.
I’m actually choosing to look at this upcoming stretch as a positive. The Braves have a nine-game cushion in the division. With four guys on the IL, this gives the front office the opportunity to figure out who needs to be around for the stretch run. Are Michael Tonkin and Ben Heller good enough to stick? Can Kirby Yates and Joe Jimenez handle high leverage situations? These are questions that are going to be answered over the next couple of weeks, and it could be pivotal to what the Braves accomplish in October.
The final reason my concern is so low is because the trade deadline is still in front of us. If these guys continue to struggle over the next week or so, it sends a clear message to the front office. They need to add a reliever or two at the deadline, and that shouldn’t be very difficult to do over the next couple of weeks. If this was happening in August or September, I would be much more concerned. But the fact that it is happening right now could end up being a blessing in disguise.
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