Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 5/22/12
Brandon Beachy has a tendency to lose things when hes on the road. He left his phone charger on the Braves first road trip. He replaced it, but lost the new one on the next trip. Beachy had no trouble remembering his charger in Chicago earlier this month, but wasnt afraid to let his 17,000-plus Twitter followers know that he left his wallet and phone in a cab in the Windy City. Got em back but idiocy streak is alive! he tweeted. Perhaps his forgetfulness can be tracked to his focus on pitching. Beachys intensity is obvious, from his offseason workouts, to his study of the craft, to the determined zone he places himself into when its his day to start. Beachys glare is unwavering when hes on the mound, as if he can use brainwaves to make the ball start and stop and shudder and shake. Hes been able to put it exactly where he wants it go, like some kind of Jedi mind trick. Hes certainly playing tricks on the minds of NL hitters this spring. Nobody has figured out Beachy, who has rocketed from unheralded rookie to one of the leagues top pitchers in a little more than a year. This time last season, Beachy was a guy only a few fans knew much about, a former infielder and closer at Indiana Wesleyan from a town called Kokomo, appropriately enough. (Remember, the Beach Boys had a hit song called Kokomo in the late 80s). He wasnt even drafted in 2008. Four years later, Beachy is a dominant force. Hes the guy who leads the majors in ERA and who is drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux because of the numbers hes put up this spring. He will take a 1.33 ERA into tonights start at Cincinnati. It is the third lowest ERA for an Atlanta Brave after eight starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, behind only Buzz Capras 1.06 in 1974 and Madduxs 1.13 in 94. Braves fans sure hope Beachys career is more similar to the Hall of Fame numbers that Maddux compiled than the one Capra had in the mid-70s. Capra had one good season, going 16-8 with a 2.24 ERA for the Braves that year, but never again won more than six games and was out of the league four years later. My bet is that Beachy will be more than a one-year wonder. Hes serious about what he does. He led NL rookies with 169 strikeouts last year, but was only 7-3 because he struggled going deep in games, which led to 15 no decisions. So he worked on his endurance and arm strength this winter. Beachy told me earlier this year that he doesnt care about the strikeouts as long as he can consistently pitch into the seventh and eighth, and even the ninth inning. Thats exactly what he did last Thursday. Thats when he threw his first career complete game, a 7-0 shut out of the Miami Marlins, a performance so dominant that he allowed only five hits and didnt walk anyone. Beachy pitched into the seventh or later in only three of his 25 starts in 2011, and had never lasted as many as eight innings in his career prior to last week. This season, hes already done it in six of his eight starts, another reason why hes 5-1. Hes allowed only 34 hits and 14 walks in his 54 innings, contributing to his miniscule 0.89 WHIP. When it comes to pitching, Beachy measures his words. He talks like he pitches, analytical and full of thought before making his delivery, both in conversation and on the mound. But when it comes to his hitting, Beachy is quick to needle nearby pitchers especially if Tim Hudson is around -- that he leads the Braves pitchers with a .167 average, to go with two walks and four RBIs. That doesnt count Kris Medlens 1.000 mark, a result of a hit in his one at-bat. Pitching, not hitting, is where Beachy will make his mark. If he continues pitching like this, it will come sooner than later.
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