By: John Wickham
I know it is only 3 starts but they have been pretty bad starts. Julio has not at all looked like the pitcher who dominated Spring Training. He has been a 2-pitch pitcher so far and the results are not encouraging. He has not had much confidence in throwing his other pitches. He is a young guy with a lot of potential but on a World Series contender like the Braves, I do not think you really can afford for him to be going through his growing pains at the major league level. Fortunately they have the Braves have been able to come back and win all three of his starts.
It almost looked like he had figured things out in Washington. He allowed the 4 runs in the first two innings but then looked really good after that. Allowing only two walks to reach base over his final four innings that day. But the home run ball has been his undoing in all his starts. In his 16 innings pitched he has given up a total of 5 home runs, 13 runs have scored and he has walked 7 batters. The amount of runs he has given up in each start: 5, 4, 4. Those are not a quality start.
On the positive side he has been able to get through 5 innings in each of his starts which at least has been able to save the bullpen a little. I will say it again he has loads of potential. He can figure things out. Look at Mike Minor. Last season he looked like he was about to be replaced but then things started to click after the All-Star Break and he has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the NL since. As long as he can lower the runs scored per start to about 2 or 3 and increase his innings pitched per start to around 6 innings he will be fine. The Braves only need him to keep the spot warm until Brandon Beachy comes back in late June/ early July. But here is hoping to that he figures it out and the Braves have a dilemma on their hands with who stays in the starting rotation.