The Braves concluded a four-game sweep against the visiting Pirates on Thursday afternoon with a 6-5 win. The win extends their current winning streak to 7 games, and for the time being Braves country enjoys a 1.5 game lead on the NL East. The Pirates sent the game 1 starter, Joe Musgrove (4-6, 4.40 ERA), back to the mound today since he was ejected from the series opener after just 0.2 innings of work. It was Julio Teheran’s (4-4, 3.03 ERA) turn for the Braves.
I don’t feel like regurgitating the big plays from this game in chronological order. I get that that’s basically what a recap is for, and I just don’t feel like doing it. Here are the main points from this game, and they’re fairly predictable at this point. Teheran was mostly on point in the same old familiar way that we’re used to seeing. He made a lot of pitches each inning. There were people on base fairly often. He lasted 6 innings on 98 pitches, allowed 3 hits and 3 walks. Sounds familiar, yes?
More interestingly, Julio’s ERA continues to be a full 1.2 points lower than his FIP. Now, as I’ve seen stated already, his BABIP of .238 is quite low, however this is not the full story behind Julio’s success, IMDKAO. In fact, I’m not even convinced his BABIP will regress that much — here’s the thing about that; his 2018 BABIP was .217 over 175.2 innings! Julio Teheran is a different kind of beast than where he started out in his career, and the BABIP is going to be lower than most. Even if we accept regression is somewhere down the road for Julio, what he has actually done better, so far, is his HR/FB has come down to 10.1% — this is down from 13.5% last year. This is the recipe for Good Julio as we’ve come to call him. This is when Julio is worth closer to 3.5 WAR than 1.5 WAR.
Moving on with the events of today’s game, Joe Musgrove was also predictably chased out by the 5th inning. He would not record an out in the inning, but would get tagged for 4 runs in that inning alone. The Braves continued with getting some good 2-strike contact to do the damage. No home runs were hit by either team today. There weren’t any lingering tensions between Musgrove and Donaldson. Etc. etc.
Brian Snitker did get tossed early in the game because the umpire was a drizzling mess of inconsistency, but whatever! The Phillies come to town tomorrow. It’s the first time these two teams have met since the season-opening series in Philadelphia where the Phillies swept the Braves. With the Braves now ahead in the division by 1.5 games, they could set the tone for the rest of the season with this series. Looking up at a division leader isn’t something the Phillies have done all year until now… Go Braves!