Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (37-52) vs. Durham Bulls (55-34)
Sat: RHP Kameron Loe (2-2, 3.49) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (4-2, 3.60)
Sun: RHP David Hale (3-3, 3.75) vs. RHP Merrill Kelly (2-0, 2.63)
The Gwinnett Braves dropped their third straight game Friday night, falling to Charlotte 2-0. With the loss, they have dropped 15 games under .500 and 18 games back of the first place Durham Bulls.
Batters: With the promotion of Joey Terdoslavich on Thursday afternoon, the G-Braves have struggled scoring runs and picking up hits. In the two game series against Charlotte, Gwinnett scored three runs on ten hits, one extra-base hit and was shutout for the second time in three days… Luis Nunez is swinging the hottest bat for the Braves. With a fourth inning single Friday night, he extended his hitting streak to nine games. Nunez recorded a career high 10-game hitting streak last season with the Chattanooga Lookouts from 5/8 through 5/19. On the season, he is hitting .333 (18-for-54) with two homers and seven RBI.
Pitchers: In need of starting pitching, Kameron Loe went from late inning reliever to one of Gwinnett’s starting five. The right-hander has fared well in his two starts, allowing three runs, one earned on seven hits in 9.0 innings. He will take the ball in the opener, while David Hale will take the mound in the finale. The former Princeton Tiger, has been on a good run of late. In his last four starts, he has tossed 23 innings, allowing three runs, yielding 21 hits, while striking out 17 in route to two wins. Since his ERA reached a season-high 6.12 on 6/10, the righty has almost cut it in half with his last four starts. On 7/1, he went seven shutout innings against Norfolk, collecting his third win of the season.
G-Bites: With a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning against reliever Jonathan Papelbon, Terdoslavich recorded his first MLB hit in a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies Friday night.
Durham enters the series with the second best record in the International League and 7.5 games lead on the Norfolk Tides in the South Division. The Bulls have been impressive at home with a 32-14 record, but have struggled on the road, posting a 23-20 mark. This will be their first trip to Coolray Field in 2013. They swept a three-game series from Gwinnett at the beginning of the season in Durham.
Batters: Triple-A All star Vince Belnome leads the Bulls attack. The infielder enters the series, hitting .343 (94-for-274) with 25 doubles, two triples, six homers and 50 RBI. He is second in the IL in batting average, while coming in first in on base percentage (.442)… Leslie Anderson will provide the thump in the middle of the order. The outfielder is hitting .328 (89-for-271) with 20 doubles and a team-leading 11 homers. In the three game set in April, Anderson hit .571 (4-for-7) with two homers and four RBI against the Braves…
Pitchers: When the Tampa Bay Rays made their blockbuster trade in the offseason, lefty Mike Montgomery was lost in the shuffle… The former No.1 prospect in the Kansas City organization at the beginning of the 2012 season, struggled through two Triple-A seasons and was demoted in the middle of the 2012 campaign. The left-hander’s stock was falling fast, but he seems to have found his groove in 2013. In nine games (8 starts), he is 4-2 with a 3.60 ERA. He still has trouble with walks, posting 21 in 50 innings. He will pitch in the opener.
Bull Headed: The Bulls are 43-1 when leading after eight innings . One of the main reasons has been the two headed monster out of the pen. Kirby Yates and Josh Lueke have been nearly unhittable. Yates is 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA and has converted nine of ten save opportunities, while Lueke is 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA and has converted 10 of 11 saves chances.