LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Brandon Beachy learned on Thursday that he won the battle for the fifth spot in the Braves' rotation. He received official word from manager Fredi Gonzalez after allowing just two hits and tossing six scoreless innings against the Tigers at Champion Stadium on Friday night.
"Those are pretty good hitters," Gonzalez said. "You're not talking about chopped liver over there. You're talking about [Miguel] Cabrera, [Magglio] Ordonez and [Victor] Martinez. Those are some pretty good hitters. Whenever you can command a fastball and throw your breaking ball over for a strike, you can tell them what's coming and the hitters will have a tough time hitting."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland had some complimentary words after watching Beachy quiet his club's bats again.
"I doubt that there'll be many better fifth starters than that," Leyland said. "I don't have anything but glowing reports, from what I've seen. There may be some, but there won't be many guys that have a fifth starter like them. If they have four guys better than that -- which I'm sure they do, I guess -- they have a helluva rotation. He's been very impressive."
Beachy has tossed 16 consecutive scoreless innings, including 11 straight against this potent Tigers lineup. Armed with the slider he hadn't used since he left Indiana Wesleyan University, the 25-year-old left-hander has allowed just six hits in the past 19 innings that he's completed in Grapefruit League games.