ATLANTA: The Braves often urge patience for their young starting pitchers. They caution that there will be some good and some bad as the former top prospects try to become legitimate big-league pitchers.
Some Braves fans at Turner Field on Thursday (Friday in Manila) offered sarcastic cheers when Matt Wisler finally recorded his first out, nearly 15 minutes after the first pitch. The Phillies hammered Matt Wisler early on the way to a 7-5 victory. Their first six batters reached base with four hits, including two home runs, and two walks.
The Braves (35-67) were down 5-0 after one inning and 7-0 after five. They cut the deficit to two runs on Gordon Beckham’s two-out RBI single in the ninth before Jeanmar Gonzalez closed out the victory.
The Phillies (47-57) got Wisler for seven runs (six earned) over five innings with three home runs. That made four consecutive rough outings for Wisler, 23, and he’s got company among his fellow young starters.
Wednesday in Minnesota the Twins touched Mike Foltynewicz (24-years old) for six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Last weekend in Colorado the Rockies beat up Tyrell Jenkins (24) for seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.
For Foltynewicz and Jenkins, the bad outings were the anomalies among their other starts this month. For Wisler, the poor start continued a trend that began when the White Sox got to him for six earned runs over five innings in Chicago on July 8.
Wisler followed that with a six-run, five-inning start at the Reds and then allowed six runs over 5 1/3 innings at the Rockies. Those three starts came in hitter-friendly parks but a return to a better venue for pitchers didn’t help Wisler.
He walked Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez to begin the game. Odubel Herrera singled and then Maikel Franco smashed Wisler’s second pitch several rows into the seats in left field for a 3-0 lead.
Wisler started off 1-0 to Tommy Joseph, the next batter. Joseph sent his second pitch out of the park on a line drive to center field. Aaron Altherr followed with a single, prompting pitching coach Roger McDowell to trot out for a chat with Wisler.
Wisler had Carlos Ruiz down 1-2 before walking him. The next batter, Freddy Galvis, popped out on a fly ball to third baseman Adonis Garcia to prompt those cynical cheers. Cody Asche followed with a sharp grounder that second baseman Jace Peterson couldn’t handle, and the error scored Altherr for a 5-0 deficit.
Wisler got out of that inning when Aaron Nola bunted into a double play. He made it through the next three innings without allowing a run but Altheer smacked a two-run homer with two outs in the fifth for a 7-0 lead.
The Braves will have to decide if it’s better for Wisler to work out his issues in the majors or send him to the minors to regroup. Julio Teheran is the only seasoned pitcher in the rotation after they traded Lucas Harrell to the Rangers on Wednesday. The Braves haven’t announced who will fill that open spot on Sunday.
Even if Wisler had pitched better, the Braves couldn’t do much anyway against right-hander Aaron Nola (6-9). He struck out Ender Inciarte to leave the bases loaded in the first inning and stymied Braves hitters until they broke through with three runs in the fifth.
Chase d’Arnaud led off and made it all the way to third when center fielded Herrera lost his pop up in the lights. The next three batters got hits: Freddie Freeman rapped an RBI double, Nick Markakis singled and Adonis Garcia extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single.
Anthony Recker’s sacrifice fly scored another run and Erick Aybar walked with two outs. Pinch hitter Brandon Snyder struck out to strand two base runners.