Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bigger Reason for Friday: Beachy or Marlins?

Brandon Beachy threw eight scoreless innings last night, but there was something that took away from an otherwise great evening.  The Florida Miami Jeffrey Lorias Marlins were the opposition.  Miami has won 43 games this year and at its current pace, will lose 101 games.  Now, they are a better team now than they were earlier this season, at least from an offensive stand point.  Giancarlo Stanton is healthy and Logan Morrison is being kept in a padded cell for his own safety.  They've also added Christian Yelich.  While their offense remains pitiful, at least there are a few guys who have a shot at performing well.

So, did Beachy dominate them or were the Marlins so bad that Beachy looked better?  And where is he in his comeback from Tommy John.

In his first two starts, Beachy struggled with his control and location.  His four-seamer lacked the pinpoint control he was used to.  Last year, as he dominated opposing hitters, his four-seamer didn't have a lot of movement ( an average of 1.29 inches).  This season, it's been difficult to corral at -2.54 inches.  Velocity is about the same so it's not a product of overthrowing the pitch.  He simply has not been able to control it.  The release point has seemed off, as well.  However, that was improved yesterday.  While it's still jumping more than he's used to, his release point was closer to 2012 levels.

His changeup is dropping off eight-and-a-half inches, over an inch more than last season.  It's making it more difficult to control and, by it dropping off so much, he is having trouble getting hitters to swing at it.  Yesterday, until he tired around the sixth inning, he was locating his changeup exactly where he wanted it.  More of that could go a long way to forcing hitters to commit toward his fastball and be fooled with his changeup.

The biggest issue movement-wise has been that his curveball has been flat this season.  He averaged about 4.3 inches with it before his injury, but was only getting 2.6 inches of break in his first couple of starts once he returned.  His curve was breaking all over the place throughout the night, though it did flatten after the fifth.  His slider was rarely used and he essentially abandoned it after the fourth, becoming a three-pitch pitcher for the final four frames.  Actually, he was closer to a two-pitch pitcher as he only sprinkled in the occasional curveball.  He throws a fifth pitch, a sinker, but didn't bother with it yesterday.

His control is still not there and I am inclined to believe a better offense would have presented a bigger issue for Beachy.  With that said, he was definitely improved over his first two starts, especially early.  The better a handle on his breaking stuff, the better Beachy will become. Getting his curveball back will change the eye level of opposing hitters and keep his ridiculous changeup difficult to identify.  For Atlanta, getting back 80% of 2012 Beachy would be a nice bonus for the rest of the year.

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