Braves 12, Rangers 0
- I’m kind of baffled about all this.
- First of all is the decision to have Cody Bradford come up and make a spot start. Bradford was apparently informed of the decision on Saturday, so the Rangers knew for a few days they were going to be doing this. It wasn’t something where Dane Dunning stubbed his toe or Nathan Eovaldi had a stomach virus and thus they needed to be pushed back a day because of something immediate and urgent.
- And there’s an off day on Thursday, so barring a re-shuffling of the rest of the rotation, the rest of the rotation will be getting two extra days of rest before their next start.
- However, it appears that the decision makers felt the rotation needed extra rest after the 10 game road trip that just ended. And thus Cody Bradford was called up to make a spot start. It is a move that commits a 40 man roster spot to Bradford, who wasn’t previously on the 40 man roster, and will also result in an option being used once he is sent back down to AAA Round Rock before Tuesday’s game.
- Bradford has been, as we have discussed, excellent for Round Rock this year. He is also a pitchability guy, someone who doesn’t have great stuff but relies on command and a five pitch mix. That is the sort of pitcher who often struggles when bumped up a level, at least initially.
- And Bradford, a southpaw, was facing an Atlanta team that crushes lefties. After Monday’s drubbing, where they faced Bradford, fellow lefty Cole Ragans, and then catcher Sandy Leon who I presume was throwing righthanded (I had turned off the game by then), the Braves are slashing .313/.377/.584 on the season against lefthanders.
- Bradford, not unexpectedly, got rocked. He allowed 18 balls in play — 11 of those were over 100 mph. The 12 hardest hit balls of the night, in fact, were by the Braves, indicative of the struggles by both the Rangers pitchers and the Rangers hitters.
- And yet the story from the beats after the game was that Bradford had done his job. He went out and gave the Rangers five innings. Yes, he gave up six runs, but whether he kept the team in the game or not was secondary to the fact he showed up and gave the rest of the rotation a break by making this start.
- I tend to think that this wasn’t intended as a give up game, that the organization hoped Bradford would do a better job of preventing runs, that Cole Ragans, who came in to give the team length after Bradford exited the game, wouldn’t give up multiple runs as well. That the Braves, facing a pitcher they hadn’t seen before, would be at least be off balance the first time or two through the order.
- That didn’t happen, though. And I guess it didn’t matter, given the Rangers didn’t score any runs anyway.
- In any case, Texas is still 3 up in the division, so that’s good. This is just one game, and these games happen. Still. This is one of the weirder decisions that I’ve seen from Bruce Bochy and company this season.
- Cody Bradford topped out at 91.8 mph with his fastball, averaging 89.4 mph. Cole Ragans touched 97.6 mph.
- Josh Jung had a 103.1 mph single. Josh Smith had a 103.0 mph single. Brad Miller had a 102.2 mph single. Leody Taveras had a 100.6 mph single. Robbie Grossman had a 100.5 mph flyout.
- Hopefully things go better on Tuesday.