Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (12-15) vs. Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (13-11)

Thu: Sean Gilmartin (2-0, 2.40 ERA) vs. Brett Marshall (0-2, 7.36 ERA)

Fri: Yohan Flande (1-1, 4.43 ERA) vs. Graham Stoneburner (1-1, 3.00 ERA)

Sat: Tim Corcoran (1-2, 3.12 ERA) vs Dellin Betances (1-2, 7.58 ERA)

Sun: Omar Poveda (2-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (2-1, 0.95 ERA) or Chris Bootcheck (3-0, 0.38 ERA)

The Gwinnett Braves have lost their last four games, as they were swept by the Indianapolis Indians (20-7). The Braves ran into a buzz saw, losing to the hottest team in the International League. The Indians are currently on a six-game winning streak and own the best record in the league.

The Braves are glad to be home after an eight-game road trip. Welcoming them back to Coolray Field will be catcher Brian McCann, as he will continue his rehab with the Gwinnett Braves this weekend. The six-time MLB All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner has been licking his chops to get back to Atlanta, working hard to get through his rehab assignment. In four games with the Single-A Rome Braves, he is hitting .357 (5-for-14) with three homers and 7 RBI.

Hitting-

The offensive attack is led by Ernesto Mejia. His eight home runs lead the league, while he is second RBI (23) and total bases (53). Last season, he hit .258 (8-for-31) with eight runs, one homer and five RBI against Scranton… Joey Terdoslavich has been no slouch, hitting .318 (34-for-107) with four home runs and 16 RBI.  He leads the league in doubles (13), extra-base hits (18) and total bases (61)…

Pitching-

Sean Gilmartin will take the ball in the opener. He is 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in five starts. Among starters, he is second on the squad in innings (30) and ERA. He will make his first career start against the RailRiders… Yohan Flande will make his fourth start (7th appearance) of the season Friday. He is 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA. In his career he has faced Scranton/ WB four times, posting a 0-0 record with a 3.54 ERA (20.1 IP/ 8 ER) and 15 strikeouts… Tim Corcoran pitches Saturday. In five starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA. Dating back to 2005, Corcoran has tossed 1.2 innings against the RailRiders, giving up zero runs and striking out two… Poveda will toss in the finale. The right-hander is seventh in the league in ERA (1.93). He is 2-1 on the season and has tossed 32.2 innings in five starts. He will make his first start against Scranton…

G-Bites-

Braves concluded the month of April with a 12-15 record. They are currently 6.5 games back of the South Division front-runner Durham Bulls and 5.5 games behind of the wildcard leading Norfolk Tides. The G-Braves are 4-6 in their last 10 games and 6-4 at home…

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Hitting-

Thomas Neal leads the RailRiders charge, hitting .339 (21-for062) with six doubles and 14 RBI. He is eighth in the league in hitting… He is tied for eighth place with teammate David Adams. He is hitting .339 (20-for 59) with two homers and six RBI… Melky Mesa leads the squad in homers with three, but is second the IL in strikeouts with 35…

Pitching-

Baseball America’s No. 6 ranked Yankees prospect Marshall will get the ball in Game 1. The right-hander has struggled in 2013, posting a 0-2 record with a 7.36 ERA… Saturday’s hurler, Stoneburner has been solid despite logging in 12.0 innings in three starts. He is 1-1 with 3.00 ERA. This will be his first start against the G-Braves… Another Yankee farmhand that has struggled is Game 3 starter, Dellin Betances. The righty is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA. Even though he has made 25 starts in his career for Scranton, this will be his first against Gwinnett. Sunday starter has not been decided, but both Wang and Bootcheck will prove to be tough. Each pitcher is sporting a sub 1.00 ERA. In 43 combined innings, the right-handers have allowed three earned runs in 2013.

The Low Down

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre took seven of eight games against the Braves in 2012. In 2013, the RailRiders are in third place in the East Division. They are currently three games back of the Wild Card race and Division lead. They are currently on a four-game winning streak.

 

-JD-

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