Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 6/20/12

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy, who has led the National League in ERA for most of the last month and a half and is currently a fraction of a run behind RA Dgickey for the league lead, will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow tomorrow after partially tearing his UCL.

Beachy's injury will knock him out for the entire season, and is a huge blown for the second place Braves, who have struggled on the mound this year. He's been their best starter, posting a 2.00 ERA and 1.4 fWAR this season in 13 starts for the Braves. That 2.00 ERA is more than a run and a half ahead of Tommy Hanson's second best 3.54 mark, and Beachy's 68 strikeouts are second on the team behind Hanson's 74. 

The Braves are in a very difficult spot right now. They'll be replacing Beachy in the rotation with former NL All-Star Jair Jurrjens, who was absolutely awful in four starts in the majors this year. Jurrjens had a 9.37 ERA in 16 1/3 innings, walking ten, striking out just eight, and allowing five homers.He wasn't much better in AAA Gwinnett, where he made nine starts and struck out 28, walked 12, and allowed seven homers in 56 1/3 innings. Combining the replacement of Beachy with Jurrjens, the continued struggles of Mike Minor, and the relative mediocrity of Hanson and Randall Delgado this year, the Braves rotation is not in good shape here in mid-June.

The team actually might have to be buyers come the end of July if they're still in the race, and with starters like Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster on the market, the Braves do have options. Atlanta also has top prospect Julio Teheran in AAA to fill a rotation spot if one of their five current starters struggles, but if the Braves were looking to make a big trade next month, you'd have to figure that teams would look towards Teheran as a centerpiece of a possible deal.

At any rate, the loss of Beachy is an absolutely devastating blow to the Braves pitching staff. Once Beachy left Saturday's game against the Orioles with elbow pain, fans immediately expected the worst. Now, the worst has arrived, and the Braves are in deep trouble.

Photo courtesy of Daylife.com

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This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

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