Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (37-50) vs. Charlotte Knights (38-49)
Thu: RHP Omar Poveda (5-5, 3.42) vs LHP Charlie Leesman (1-1, 3.55)
Fri: RHP Cody Martin (2-0, 1.29) vs. RHP Jason Berken (6-8, 3.95)
The Gwinnett Braves finished their mini-road trip, dropping three of four to the Norfolk Tides (46-40). With the losses, the Braves have fallen 9.5 back in the Wild Card standings and to fourth place in the South division.
Batters- The recent promotion of Joey Terdoslavich (.318/18 HR/ 58 RBI) leaves a big void in the middle of the lineup. .. Ernesto Mejia will carry the load. The first baseman was recently named to his second consecutive Triple-A All Star game. On the season, he is hitting .249 (73-for-293) with 21 homers and 62 RBI. He leads the squad in both categories, while coming in second in the International League in both home runs and RBI… Brandon Boggs has cooled off of late, but the switch hitter has been solid since joining the G-Braves. In 47 games, he is batting .277 (43-for-155) with five dingers and 17 RBI.
Pitchers- The Braves will throw two of their best this weekend against the Knights. In game one, Omar Poveda will take the ball looking for his team-leading sixth win of the season. The right hander is 5-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 16 starts for the G-Braves… Cody Martin will take the ball in game two for the Braves. Since being called up from Double-A Mississippi three weeks ago, the righty is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA, delivering three quality starts for Gwinnett.
The Knights have rebounded from a poor 7-21 start and are now third in the South Division and only 8.5 games back of the Wild Card leading Tides. However, they have not fared well against the Braves, posting a 2-8 mark against Gwinnett.
Batters- Recently named Triple-A All-Star Josh Phegley leads the Knight attack. The backstop is hitting .316 (73-for-231) with 18 doubles, 15 homers and 41 RBI. He has been just as good against the Braves in 2013, hitting .345 (10-for-29) with two doubles, two homers and three RBI in eight games… Blake Tekotte is swinging a hot bat of late. In his last 10 games, he is batting .389 (14-for-36) with one homer and seven RBI.
Pitchers- Charlie Leesman would have been a late September call up last season, but a knee injury in the IL Playoffs sidelined the southpaw. He missed part of this season, but has been great since returning. In seven starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA. He features four quality pitches, relying on his fastball and changeup… Game two starter Jason Berken will try to reverse his luck against the G-Braves. In his lone start against Gwinnett, he was roughed up for six runs on ten hits in 4.1 innings. On the season, he is 6-8 with a 3.95 ERA in 16 starts for the Knights.