These young Braves make each game so exciting to watch. The anticipation of wondering what will happen next, wishing for a hit and it happening. Everyone is contributing and everyone is meshing so well together. The team chemistry is the best its been in years. This is not just a team, this is a family. After Mike Soroka’s amazing start and an incredible first week for Ronald Acuna Jr., there is new life infused into the 2018 Braves. This family atmosphere has had such an amazing effect on every part of this team. In most years, you can point to one player and say they carried the team, not this year. Ozzie, Dansby, Acuna, Freddie, Ender, Soroka, the list goes on and on.
Luiz Gohara was one player that the Braves fandom expected to be in the mix with these young kids helping out in the starting rotation. But like most things this season, the unexpected has been the contributing factor in the Braves success.
In September of 2017, Gohara played in 5 games, with 29.1 innings pitched and a 4.91 ERA. He had a 1-3 record with the Brave last year. Across those 29.1 innings, he struck out 31 and walked 8. He has been compared to CC Sabathia in the way that he pitches and his overall build.
When Gohara experienced a groin strain followed by a sprained ankle in March, he was forced to miss all of Spring Training and has been rehabbing in the minors ever since. In the offseason, Gohara also suffered the great loss of his father.
It was a tough offseason,” Gohara said. “It was hard to leave [Brazil], but you’ve got to go to work.”
Gohara has been expected to return to the Braves in May, but with the way he has been playing lately they may hold off on calling him up. Brian Snitker said:
He’s not ready. It’s spring training for him, pretty much. He got way behind, so he’s just going to need to keep pitching. And it’s one of those situations where a guy like that, he’ll let you know when he’s ready (by his performance). If we don’t need him then it’s good that he can stay down there and get everything together.”
With all of these unfortunate events putting a strain on his mind and body, there is no wonder Gohara is performing the way that he is. Now, we have no idea of knowing that these things are the sole factors of why he is underperforming, but with the bad luck he has had, how could it not affect someone and the way they play.
Gohara’s numbers over his last few starts have not been the greatest. In his last outing for Gwinnett on Wednesday of this week, he was shaken. He pitched into the 4th inning and allowed 6 runs, walked 4 and gave up 8 hits. He only struck out 3. He now has an ERA of 8.03 and a 0-1 record with the Stripers. On April 17th Gabriel Burns reported that in Mississippi, he pitched 3-1/3 innings, walked 3, allowed 5 runs and struck out 4. He threw 62 pitches only 35 of those were strikes.
With the type of numbers he has put up over the last few games, his attitude somewhat exhibits a nonchalant mentality. If Gohara continues to pitch the way he has and gets demoted to Mississippi again, it could do more damage to the way he is performing. Something has to change if he wants to make it back to the big leagues. We have seen how well Gohara can be, but unfortunately, as more and more talent has made its way to the starting rotation, I fear that by the time Gohara is ready and pitching consistently and successful, there may not be a spot left for him.
But it makes you wonder if spending a little time with the guys who are in the starting line-up right now is exactly what Gohara needs. Fresh energy and a winning spirit, with a team that is confident, can go a long way. Not to say that Gwinnett is not spirited, but there is something special about this set of Braves in the big leagues that is contagious and infectious. If he can prove he’s got what it takes, like what we saw last season, with a few solid starts he might be a good option for the bullpen. Then maybe he can get that spark and confidence that these Braves have in order to win.
The way this team is playing has put hope in the minds of the players and fans that all of the rebuilding wasn’t for nothing. After several years of rebuilding, the Braves are finally revealing what they have been keeping up their sleeve. It’s got the fans excited and Gohara could and should still be a part of this team and its success, he just needs a little extra something to help him bounce back.