May 2013

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (24-31) at Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (24-29)

Fri: RHP Tim Corcoran (3-3, 3.19)vs. RHP Zach Miner (2-3, 5.40)
Sat: RHP Omar Poveda (3-3, 2.84)vs. RHP B.J. Rosenberg (1-4, 4.10)
Sun: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-3, 5.76)vs. RHP Ethan Martin (5-2, 5.44)
Sun: LHP Yohan Flande (3-4, 4.25)vs. LHP Raul Valdes (0-1, 5.54

The Braves seven game win streak was snapped on Thursday night, as they were blanked by Syracuse 5-0. Despite the loss, the Braves have been on a roll of late, winning eight of their last ten.

Hitting-
The Braves enter play with the 6th-highest batting average in the International League. Despite outscoring their opponents 47-24 in the last eight games, the Braves are 11th in the league in runs (224)… Joey Terdoslavich leads the squad in batting average (.325), hits (67) and total bases (114). His 67 hits lead the IL, as well as his 21 doubles… Brandon Boggs has been a delight since signing with the Braves. In 20 games with the G-Braves, the switch-hitting outfielder is batting .329 (24-for-73) with five homers and 13 RBI.

Pitching-
Tim Corcoran was named IL Pitcher of the Week this week, going 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA (1ER/11IP) from 5/20 through 5/26… He will get the ball in game one and make first ever start against the Iron Pigs… Omar Poveda, the G-Braves best starter this season, will get the ball in game two. In his last start, the Toledo Mud Hens snapped his seven-game quality start streak, scoring four runs in six innings. Despite the poor performance, the right-hander ranks seventh in the IL in ERA (2.84) and second in WHIP (0.99).

G-Bites- During the first five games of the winning streak, the G-Braves bullpen did not allow a run, going 17.2 scoreless innings. The streak was the longest of the season…

Lehigh Valley

Batting-
Josh Fields paces the Iron Pigs offense. The infielder is hitting .329 (44-for-134) with four homers and 17 RBI. He ranks ninth in the league in BA… Cody Overbeck is the muscle in the Lehigh Valley lineup. The first baseman enters play, leading the team in homers (9) and is second in RBI (23)… The Iron Pigs enter play with the 5th-best batting average in the league, while leading the league in triples (21).

Pitching-
The pitching staff has been suspect all season, posting 5.19 ERA and allowing the most runs (293) in the International League. Ethan Martin, Lehigh Valley’s best starter, will get the nod on Sunday afternoon. The right-hander is 5-2 with a 5.44 ERA. He has struck out 45 hitters in 49.2 innings… Left-hander Jake Diekman has been a workhorse out of the bullpen, logging 23 innings in a league-high 23 games…

Piglets-
Lehigh Valley is on a four-game losing streak, dropping to fourth place in the North Division. They are currently 7.5 games back of the front-running Pawtucket Red Soxs.

-Jd-

Dejavu in Syracuse

One day after scoring a season-high five runs in the first inning, the Gwinnett Braves (22-30) utilized a five-run ninth inning to come-from-behind and clip the Syracuse Chiefs (22-28) 9-5 on Monday night.

It was all too similar to Sunday afternoon’s five-run outburst. On Sunday, Ernesto Mejia hit a three-run homer to give the Braves an early 3-0 lead, while on Monday he hit a three-run dinger, giving the Braves an 8-5 lead. In the Sunday affair, Matt Pagnozzi capped the scoring in the first with a two-run single, and ended the comeback on Monday with a solo home run.

The win extended the Braves streak to five in a row, the longest of the season. Also, cut the deficit in the IL South Division to 9.5, as they trail the Durham Bulls and Norfolk Tides in the standings.

Scouting Report- Matt Torra will face the Braves for the first time tonight. The former first round pick (31st overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005, is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 2013. Last year, Torra was sold to the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He spent the season with Triple-A Durham before signing a minor league deal with Washington. In 176 MiLB games (169 starts), Torra is 64-52 with a 4.42 ERA. He throws a fastball, curveball, but his changeup is his bread and butter.

G-Bites- Brandon Boggs extended his five-game hitting streak with a 3-for-4 performance on Monday night. Since signing with the Braves, the switch-hitting outfielder has been on a tear, hitting .309 (21-for-68) with four homers and 12 RBI.

-JD-

G-Braves Sweep Toledo, Win Fourth Straight

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The Gwinnett Braves (21-30) utilized a five-run outburst in the first inning to coast to a 9-0 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens (15-36) on Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field.  Every G-Braves’ hitter had at least one hit as the club matched season highs in runs (9) and hits (15) in the sweep-clinching win.

It wouldn’t have taken much for the G-Braves to sweep away the Mud Hens. Starter Tim Corcoran (W, 3-3) was on top of his game, pitching 6.0 innings of scoreless of baseball, yielding four hits and striking out two to collect his third victory of the season.

The bats backed Corcoran early.  In the top of the first, the G-Braves tied a season high for runs in an inning, scoring five runs on six hits against Toledo starter Derek Hankins. With two runners on base, Ernesto Mejia provided the big blow, connecting for a three-run homer off the retaining wall in left field.  Mejia’s 12th home run of the season, tied with Rochester’s Chris Colabello for the International League lead, staked Gwinnett to a 3-0 lead.

After the blast, the G-Braves continued their first-inning attack.  Brandon Boggs singled and Joe Leonard doubled, and Matt Pagnozzi drove both runners in with a single to extend the lead to 5-0.

Todd Cunningham added RBI in the third and fifth innings.  With the bases loaded in the third, the switch-hitting outfielder was hit by a pitch to bring in Pagnozzi.  In the fifth inning, he singled home Corey Wimberly from second, pushing the lead to 7-0.

Boggs continued his hot homestand in the sixth inning, lacing a solo homer to right field to raise the lead to 8-0. In 18 games since joining the G-Braves, he is hitting .281 (18-for-64) with four homers and 12 RBI. 

Gwinnett tacked on another run in the seventh on an RBI double by Alden Carrithers.

The bullpen took care of the large lead, as Ryan Buchter, Wirfin Obispo and Juan Cedeno completed the shutout.  In the series, the Gwinnett bullpen hurled 14.2 innings of scoreless relief against the Mud Hens.

Hankins (L, 1-3) suffered the loss, giving up 12 hits, seven runs, six earned in 4.2 innings on the mound.

Offensively, each G-Braves hitter collected at least one hit, with Wimberly, Cunnningham, Carrithers, Boggs, Pagnozzi and Sean Kazmar recording two hits each.  Cunningham added two runs and two RBI.  Mejia led the way with three RBI.

The Mud Hens were held to just five hits by G-Braves’ pitching on the day.  Danny Dorn’s 2-for-4 effort led Toledo, while Jordan Lennerton extended his season-best hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the sixth.

The Gwinnett Braves open a four-game road series against the Syracuse Chiefs on Monday night.  First pitch from NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse, NY is set for 6:30 PM.  Right-hander Omar Poveda (3-3, 2.52) will start for the G-Braves, while the Chiefs will counter with right-hander Ryan Tatusko (0-1, 2.97).  Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

 

The next G-Braves’ home game is Tuesday, June 4 against the Rochester Red Wings, first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM. Tickets are on sale now by calling the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or by visiting gwinnettbraves.com

 -JD-

Inside the Numbers

The Braves have won three straight games, their longest winning streak since opening up the season 4-0. The bullpen has been a large part of the success, as they have not allowed a run in their last three games and have a 12.1 innings scoreless streak.

In their last series against the Louisville Bats, the bullpen was not as efficient, surrendering five runs in 9.2 innings, yielding eight hits and three free passes.

The bullpen has been a cause for concern in 2013, blowing six saves in 23 opportunities. In 162 innings pitched, the pen’ is 8-12 with a 3.83 ERA. The biggest concern has been the free passes, the relief corps has given up 89 walks in 162 frames.

The Braves enter today’s contest, looking to continue their winning ways and extend their bullpen streak. Prior to the 12.1 shutout frames, the longest streak of the season was 8.0 innings from 4/24-4/27. During that four-day span, the Braves won three of four and were hovering at .500-mark.

With the Braves on an upward swing after their season-high 14-game losing streak, it’s easy to point out that bullpen success is the key to winning for this club.

G-Bites- With an RBI double in the seventh inning, Joey Terdoslavich collected his league-leading 20th double of the year Saturday night. In 2011, he set the All-Time Mark in the Carolina League with 52 doubles. The International League high mark for doubles is 57, set by Jim Holt in 1924.

Gwinnett Braves Starting Lineup vs. Toledo (5/26)
Wimberly 7
Cunningham 8
Carrithers 4
Mejia 3
Boggs 9
Gartrell 8
Leonard 5
Pagnozzi 2
Kazmar 6
Corcoran 1
-JD-

Brandon Beachy Quotes After First Rehab Start

What did you think?

BB: “I feel good, you know. It was fun. It was nice to be out there in a real game with fans in the seats and be able to compete.”

How did you feel? Were you unsettled at first at all? Did you settle in at all?

BB: “A little uncomfortable I would say. Just a little out of rhythm, out of sync, I would find it. What usually takes a batter or a pitch or two, it’s taking three batters or four pitches to make the adjustments. But, that’s going to come, the feel is going to come as I get more comfortable out there. The speed of the game is a lot quicker than the bullpen I have been throwing, so I have to slow myself down a little bit and that will help out my rhythm. I have to stay back on my back side a little bit and that will help out a lot.”

It (feel for the game) pretty much goes hand-in-hand with the command issues?

BB: “Yeah, that exactly what it was.”

How would you access the performance (4 IP, 2H, 2ER, 3BB, 3K, 70 pitches-35 strikes)?

BB: “I feel good about it. I physically felt strong. I felt good. Like I said, I threw a lot of quality pitches, and at times it would get away, were normally it’s a quicker adjustment, it took me a lot longer to get going. It’s something I have to fight through and really focus on slowing myself down, controlling my breathing and that will help me make the adjustments quicker.”

What was your reaction, feelings about sitting down and coming back out in-between innings?

BB: “I felt really good, that’s something that has been in the back of my mind. How I would respond to the time between innings, but it didn’t tighten up on me or anything like that. It felt really good physically. I couldn’t be any happier with how it felt.”

Command issues aside, how did you feel about velocity, movement?

BB: “I don’t know about velocity, they weren’t really teeing off on my fastball when I was throwing it for a strike, so judging by the swings that is not an issue. Some of the pitches were good, threw a couple good changeups, a couple good sliders, and I threw a handful of bad ones too. It’s all a part of that rhythm, repetition and just being comfortable.”

Is this what you expected for your first time out?

BB: “I really don’t know what to expect. Going up against Triple-A hitters for four innings and not having faced guys in weeks. I guess, I’m happy with it, not knowing what was going to happen. Of course, I want to go out there and not give up a hit, not give up a run, but that’s just part of the process.”

What adjustment will you make between now and your next outing?

BB: “I’ll watch it on tape. I’ll check out the film and I can already tell you what I will see on a lot of them. It’s just rushing down the mound, not sitting back on my back side and getting my weight shifted quite long enough, and that’s causing me to hang some off-speed pitches and throwing some fastballs right into the dirt, and be non-competitive at times with pitches and getting counts where I’m digging myself in holes. However, that’s all fixable and it’s something I should have expected.”

How important was it to limit damage in the 2nd and 4th innings?

 BB: “Yeah, I guess. Being in a situation with guys on base that’s something you can’t simulate in the bullpen. I think I did a pretty good job of calming down. I walked a few guys, but it was in situations where I had a bases open and I knew that. I was trying to work on stuff, I threw pitches that I wouldn’t normally throw in that situation just to get them in, and I felt I need to work on and I needed to throw. But, a lot of times they did not work out for me and I didn’t execute them. Those are things I will need to have eventually, so I might as well start working on them now.”

Will you stay on the same schedule (make another start in five days)? Will your pitch count increase?

BB: “Yes, I anticipated it moving up.”

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (17-30) vs. Toledo Mud Hens (15-32)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (2-3, 5.77) vs. LHP Ramon Garcia (1-4, 5.20)
Fri: RHP Brandon Beachy (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Jose Alvarez (4-2, 1.98)
Sat: LHP Sean Gilmartin (2-3, 4.23) vs. RHP Shawn Hill (0-4, 4.92)
Sun: RHP Tim Corcoran (2-3, 3.64) vs. RHP Derek Hankins (1-2, 2.51)

Gwinnett enters the series losing three of their last four. In their last series against Louisville, they were outscored 22-17 and fell to last place in the South Division.

Hitting-
Jose Constanza
continues to close in on his 22-game hitting streak from last season. He currently has hit in 18 straight games, hitting .380 (27-for-71) during that span. He has raised his average to .284 (33-for-116) after starting the season at .163. He is tied for third in the International League in triples (3)… Joey Terdoslavich enters the series leading the league with 19 doubles. In 2011, he set the Carolina League All-Time mark with 52 doubles…

Pitching-
Brandon Beachy
highlights the pitching staff for the weekend. The 26-year-old pitcher was added to the Gwinnett roster by Atlanta on May 19 and was supposed to start that night against the Louisville Bats, but the game was postponed by rain. He has yet to pitch in a live game on his rehab stint. Before suffereing the injury, Beachy was tied for the Major League lead with a 1.98 ERA and led the Majors with a .171 opponent batting average.

Toledo enters the series with the worst record in the International League. They have struggled away from home, posting a 4-18 record. They are currently 17 games behind the front-running Indianapolis Indians in the West Division.

Batting-
Jordan Lennerton leads the Mud Hens attack. The first baseman leads the team in hitting (.327), RBI (26) and second in homers (7). He enters the series with the ninth highest batting average in the International League and is third with a .438 on-base percentage… Nick Castellanos, the Detroit Tigers No.1 prospect according to Baseball America, leads the league in games played (47). He is starting to come around at the plate, hitting .253 (47-for-186) with five homers and 23 RBI.

Pitching-
Toledo possesses the second best ERA in the league, but has only 15 wins to show for it. In 424.1 innings pitched, they have allowed 161 earned runs. Bruce Rendon anchors the back end of the pen. He owns a 0-1 record with a 0.54 ERA. He has converted nine of 10 save opportunities. Jose Alvarez has been the Mud Hens most effective starter. The southpaw leads the team in strikeouts (55) and is second on the squad with 54.2 innings pitched. He will get the ball in game two against the Beachy.

-Jd-

Breaking Bad, Ending Slumps

In last night’s doubleheader split with the Louisville Bats (22-23), the Gwinnett Braves snapped a few bad streaks.

First off, they snapped a ten-game home losing streak that spanned all the way back to April 22nd. Tim Corcoran broke a personal three-game losing streak on the mound, recording his first win since April 7th . He also collected the first hit for a G-Braves pitcher in 2013. Sean Kazmar capped the nightcap by breaking a 0-for-31 spell, connecting for a single in the third inning, recording his first hit since April 28th. With a two-run double in the fifth, he recorded his first RBI since April 30th.

With the victory, the G-Braves avoided the 30th loss mark for the season. Currently at 17-29, the Braves are in the bottom half of the standings, but have played better baseball of late. In their last 10 games, they are 5-5 and have inched closer to the middle of the pack.

The Braves top hurler, Omar Poveda will take the mound tonight. He is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA. His ERA is third in the league, while he leads the league in WHIP (0.97) and fewest base runners allowed (54).

He will face Chad Reineke of the Bats. The right-hander was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the 13th round of the 2004 draft. He was traded to the San Diego Padres in 2008 for Randy Wolf, and on August 16, 2008 made his major league debut. He bounced around from SD to Oakland before settling with the Reds organization. He enters his fourth season with the Bats, posting a 26-30 record for Louisville. Reineke is an effective starter, featuring four pitches; a fastball, curveball, slider and change-up. He is 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA in 2013.

G-Bites- Last night, Jose Constanza extended his league-high 17 game hitting streak with hits in both games. The left-handed hitter set a G-Braves record with a 22-game hitting streak in 2012. Also, securing the longest hitting streak in the IL last year.

G-Braves Win, Split Doubleheader

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – After dropping their tenth straight home game with an 8-5 loss in game one of the doubleheader, the Gwinnett Braves (17-29) took care of business in the nightcap, winning for the first time at home since April 22 with a 5-2 victory over the Louisville Bats (22-23) on Monday night.

The Bats came out swinging in the first game, scoring eight runs on 11 hits off of G-Braves’ pitching. Starter Sean Gilmartin (L, 2-3) yielded seven earned runs on nine hits over 4.0 innings, losing for the third straight start.

Louisville got to Gilmartin quickly, scoring twice in the first inning. Neftali Soto did the damage with a two-run homer, his fourth of the season.

However, the G-Braves answered in the bottom half of the frame, scoring three runs on three hits against Bats starter Pedro Villarreal. It was the first time the Gwinnett offense scored three runs in the first inning since April 16. In the frame, Joey Terdoslavich doubled and scored on an RBI single by Ernesto Mejia, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Brandon Boggs gave the G-Braves the lead with a two-run homer to right-center field, his second with Gwinnett and fourth of the season.

Following the outburst by the G-Braves, the Bats took over. Louisville scored in each of the first five innings, taking an 8-3 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Henry Rodriguez ended Gilmartin’s rough evening as he crushed a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Gwinnett tacked on runs in the fifth and seventh innings, cutting the deficit to 8-5. It would not be enough, however, as reliever Curtis Partch (W, 1-1) tossed 2.2 innings with one run allowed to secure the victory. Villarreal was effective over 4.1 innings as he allowed four runs, but he did not make it through the fifth to qualify for the win.

In the nightcap, the G-Braves got behind early as Billy Hamilton reached on an infield single, moved to third on a base hit by Neftali Soto and scored as Soto was caught in a rundown, making it 1-0 Bats.

The G-Braves went to work in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs thanks to the wildness of Bats starter Daniel Corcino (L, 2-7). After recording the first two outs of the frame, Corcino hit Jose Yepez with a pitch and gave up back-to-back singles to Sean Kazmar and Tim Corcoran, loading the bases. With the bases jammed, Jose Constanza and Todd Cunningham drew consecutive RBI walks, making it 2-1 Gwinnett.

In the third, Terdoslavich smacked his eighth homer of the season, extending the lead to 3-1. The offense added two more runs in the fifth, both scoring on a double by Kazmar to push the lead to 5-1.

It would be more than enough for Corcoran (W, 2-3), who started and tossed 5.1 innings of one-run baseball. The right-hander scattered eight hits and struck out a season-high seven batters for his first win since April 7. Kameron Loe (S, 1) preserved the victory, allowing one run on two hits over 1.2 innings.

Terdoslavich went a combined 3-for-7 in the doubleheader including two doubles, a home run and two RBI. Constanza added two hits total, going 1-for-3 in both games to extend his International League-leading hitting streak to 17 games.

Hamilton paced the Bats, going 4-for-7 on the night with three runs and an RBI. Soto added four hits and three RBI for Louisville.

The Gwinnett Braves wrap up the four-game series against the Louisville Bats on Tuesday at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM. Right-hander Omar Poveda (3-2, 2.35) will start for the G-Braves, while the Bats will counter with right-hander Chad Reineke (3-3, 4.10).

-Jd-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (16-27) vs. Louisville Bats (20-22)

Sat, May 18
LHP Yohan Flande (1-3, 4.95) vs. RHP Greg Reynolds (3-0, 2.92)
Sun, May 19
RHP Brandon Beachy (MLB Rehab) vs. RHP Pedro Villarreal (1-2, 4.53)
Mon, May 20
RHP Tim Corcoran (1-3, 3.93) vs. RHP Daniel Corcino (2-6, 7.20)
Tue, May 21
RHP Omar Poveda (3-2, 2.35) vs. RHP Chad Reineke (3-3, 4.10)

The G-Braves finished off their current road trip on a sour note, as they dropped the finale in Pawtucket 5-4. After leading 4-0 through 6 ½ innings, the Red Sox scored five unanswered runs to clip the Braves. Bryce Brentz ended it in dramatic fashion, as he hit a walk-off three-run homer against Wirfin Obispo to clinch it for the PawSox. The Braves did finish a nice road trip though, going 4-4 and snapping their 14-game losing skid.

Hitting-
Joey Terdoslavich enters the fold hitting .327 (54-for-165) with seven dingers and 26 RBI. He leads the International League in doubles (15), is second in hits (54) and four in extra base-hits (23). In four games against the Bats in 2013, he is hitting .438 (7-for-16) with a homer and two RBI… Jose Constanza increased his hitting streak to a league-high 13 games last night. After a dismal start, he has caught fire of late, raising his average to .275 (28-for-102). He is tied for third in the IL with three triples.

Pitching-
The Braves staff ranks ninth in the league in ERA with a 4.04 mark. However, their biggest concern has been free passes. They lead the league with 186 walks and have hit a league-high 24 batters. It has not served well at the end of games, as the Braves have six blown saves… RHP Brandon Beachy will make a rehab start on Sunday afternoon for the G-Braves. He will make his first professional appearance since undergoing “Tommy John” Surgery in 2012. He is slated for the 2:05 PM start on Sunday.

G-Bites-
The Braves are currently tied for third place in the South Division and are 13.5 games back of the Norfolk Tides.

Louisville Bats
The Bats have not enjoyed the 2013 campaign either. They hold a 20-22 mark and are currently 9.5 games back of the Indianapolis Indians in the West Division. Louisville is on a two-game losing streak and is 5-5 in their last 10.

Hitting-
Felix Perez leads the offense, hitting .308 (45-for-146) with five homers and 25 RBI. The outfielder has been exceptional with men in scoring position, posting a .313 (10-for-32) clip with one homer and 20 RBI… Fellow outfielder Billy Hamilton has been the beneficiary of the production, as he leads the squad in runs scored (21). The speedster also leads the IL in stolen bases with 21. Last season, he set the Minor League record by amassing 155 bags in his stints with High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola.

Pitching-
The Braves will miss the overpowering Tony Cingrani (1-0, 0.00 ERA) in the series. The left-hander is not scheduled to pitch this weekend. However, they will have their hands full with right-handers Greg Reynolds and Chad Reineke. Reynolds comes into the series a perfect 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA. Saturday will be his first start of the season against the Braves. On the other hand, Reineke faced the Braves at home on 4/25. He was sharp, hurling 7.0 innings of shutout baseball. He did not factor in the decision, as his team dropped the game 1-0. On the season, he is 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA.

Bat Sounds-
The Bats dropped three of four at home against the G-Braves in April. However, they hold the all-time mark at 16-15.

-JD-

Photo Gallery: May 2-9

The G-Braves are out of town, but here are some great images of the last homestand.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers