The Atlanta Braves hoped that Brandon Beachy could recover from his Tommy John surgery and regain his old form the last couple months of the regular season, and especially the playoffs. Beachy was the Braves best starter last season, and it was hoped that he could be a top of the rotation pitcher again by playoff time.
The way Alex Wood has pitched, the need for Brandon Beachy to contribute this season has been greatly diminished. It would be nice if Beachy can recover from his recent bout with elbow inflammation, and pitch effectively this season, but barring injury to another starter, it isn’t necessary.
Alex Wood was outstanding in his five August starts. In 30 innings, he gave up only 20 hits and nine walks. The big southpaw struck out 28, and allowed hitters only a .190 average.
Wood was so effective in August, that he is most likely a leading candidate for the National League pitcher of the month. Heady stuff for a 22-year old who pitched at the University of Georgia last season, and vaulted to the majors from Double-A Mississippi.
Right now, the Braves best four pitchers are Minor, Teheran, Wood and Medlen. If the playoffs began today, that is the four I would expect Fredi Gonzalez to use as starters. If Gonzalez alternated his left-handed and right-handed starters as he often likes to do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alex Wood pitch the third game.
Things change, and with all the injuries the Braves have had this season, we can only hope that there are no more. Paul Maholm is working his way back into shape and may regain his top form by the end of the season. But the bottom line is that Alex Wood at his best, is better than Paul Maholm at his best. Come playoff time I expect to see Maholm and Beachy either in the bullpen or in the stands and Alex Wood front and center.