ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy's desire to be more aggressive in the strike zone has reduced his strikeout ratios and allowed him to achieve his goal to go longer into games than he did during last year's rookie season.
Beachy has reason to be proud of the 1.38 ERA and .193 opponents batting average he has compiled through his first five starts. But more satisfying might be the fact that he has pitched into the seventh inning in four consecutive starts. That equals the number of times he pitched more than six innings in 25 starts last year.
This altered approach has prevented Beach from notching the impressive strikeout totals he produced last year. But he believes his strikeout numbers will improve once he finds more consistency with his curveball.
Beachy's strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio has dropped from 10.7 to 6.1. Opponents swung and missed at 29 percent of his pitches last year. That number is down to 17.1 percent this year.
"My breaking balls just aren't as sharp right now, and that is kind of holding me back from putting away a few of the guys in those [strikeout] situations," Beachy said.