Looking at pitching matchups for the Phillies series is a little misleading when it comes to Braves rookie right-hander David Hale. Next to the name Hale is: 0-0, 0.00 ERA.
But Hale earned those numbers, by pitching five shutout innings in his major league debut on Sept. 13 against the Padres. The Marietta native struck out nine, walked one and only took a no-decision because the Padres rallied for a 4-3 win.
Hale set a pretty high standard to try to match when he makes his second spot start Thursday against the Phillies, which allows the Braves to set up their rotation for the postseason. But Hale said he’s just looking to make a quality start and give the Braves a chance to win. And he goes in without as many first-game jitters.
“That got a lot of the nerves out, I think,” said Hale, who joked after the game that he was happy he didn’t throw up or trip. “I’m always nervous when I play. Even in the minor leagues I get nervous before my starts but once you’re out there, it relaxes.
When asked what he learned from that first start, the Princeton graduate and 2009 third round pick said: “That I can compete here, that I have what it takes.”
Hale, a Walker School graduate, estimates he had 300 friends and family in the stands at Turner Field.
“There’s always that question in the minor leagues when you’re coming up, ‘Can I do it, can I do it?’ Hale said. “And to have a good showing in front of all the people that were here - my family and friends - and then also for me to know that I could do it, that was big.”
Hale also gave the Braves plenty to think about heading into next season, which is a big reason why they called him up in September and gave him this chance.
“We feel like he’s a big part of this organization,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He has gotten better every year. (You) put him in there. You feel comfortable. It’s not an audition, but it’s ‘OK, here you are pitching on a big stage.’ As coaches we remember what you did the last time.”
The Braves haven’t been able to acquire the ace they might have wanted for the top of their rotation, but they secured the depth they needed Monday with the signing of free agent right-hander Gavin Floyd.
One week after the Braves were eliminated by the Dodgers in a four-game division series, Braves general manager Frank Wren met with the team’s beat writers and discussed the 2013 season and the team’s needs going into the offseason.