May 2014

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (29-23) at Rochester Red Wings (28-24)

Pitching Probables

Fri: Cody Martin (3-3, 2.89) vs. LHP Kris Johnson (4-2, 2.11)

Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-5, 3.20) vs. Trevor May (4-3, 3.00)

Sun: Gus Schlosser (3-1, 6.12) vs. LHP Scott Diamond (2-6, 7.51)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Mon: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.06) vs. Alex Meyer (3-1, 3.31)

With both teams trailing their respective division leaders by less than two games, the Gwinnett Braves and the Rochester Red Wings enter a pivotal series for Wild Card supremacy. The G-Braves enter the series with a one game lead on the Rochester Red Wings even though the teams are trending in opposite directions. Rochester is 6-4 in their last ten games, while Gwinnett is 4-6.

Pitching: The Gwinnett Braves will turn the ball to their No.1 and No.2 starters to begin the series. Martin will take the ball in the first game; looking to record his fourth win of the season. Martin is coming off one of his worst outings of the 2014 season, as he gave up five runs (two earned) in 4.0 innings on 5/25 vs. Norfolk. Despite the poor start, Martin has put up some impressive numbers on the season. He is second on the squad in wins and strikeouts (53), while leading the staff with a 2.89 ERA.

Hector Daniel Rodriguez leads the team in wins and strikeouts (57). The southpaw has been excellent in his third stint with the G-Braves. In 10 starts, he has already surpassed his win total from 2013, while accumulating more punch outs than season ago. Rodriguez has been effective around the zone, walking 18 batters in 59.0 innings. Last season, he walked 38 batters in 53.0 innings for the G-Braves.

Right-handers Schlosser and Maya round out the rotation for Gwinnett.

They will be opposed by two of the better hurlers in the Minnesota Twins organization in Kris Johnson and Trevor May. Johnson was an IL All-Star last season with the Indianapolis Indians, and has continued his great work this year. He has won three straight games from 4/24 to 5/25. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 8.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits in the win against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

May is also coming into the series with a three-game winning streak. The righty has posted wins in back-to-back-to-back contests. He has tossed 19.0 innings without allowing an earned run. In his last start, he allowed one unearned run on five hits. During the scoreless streak, he has struck out 15, while walking nine. He is rated the No.8 prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America.

Batting: Despite changes to the lineup, the Gwinnett Braves continue to hit. The G-Braves lead the league in hitting, batting .270 as a squad. They are third in the league in runs scored (248) despite ranking ninth in the league in homers (33).

Phil Gosselin continues to pace the offensive attack. The infielder enters the contest second in the league with a .337 (64-for-190) batting average. He is second in the IL in hits and leads the G-Braves in doubles.

In addition to the consistency of Gosselin, Christian Bethancourt has swung a hot bat in May. The backstop is batting .282 (22-for-78) with nine runs scored, five doubles, one triple, two homers and 17 RBIs. His 17 RBIs during the month of May lead the team.

The Red Wings will counter with the 2013 IL MVP and Rookie of the Year, Chris Colabello. Since being optioned to Rochester, the first baseman is hitting .100 (1-for-10) with one RBI in three games. Last season, he hit .352 (119-for-338) with 24 homers and 76 RBIs for the Red Wings.

G-Notes: Tyler Pastornicky joined the G-Braves on Thursday night and went 2-for-4 in his first appearance since being optioned by the Braves…. Former G-Brave Ernesto Mejia is hitting .457 (21-for-46) with two homers and six RBIs in 11 games for the Seibu Lions…

“Whatever you want to do, If you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” -Maya Angelou

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (25-19) vs. Norfolk Tides (17-28)

Thu: Gus Schlosser (1-1, 5.84) vs. Mike Wright (1-2, 4.46)Fri: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.13) vs. LHP T.J. McFarland (0-1, 3.75)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Sat: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.24) vs. Eddie Gamboa (2-4, 5.30)

Sun: Cody Martin (3-2, 2.76) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-2, 2.90)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Norfolk Tides will meet for the sixth time this season, and their series matchup of the 2014 campaign. In their previous five meetings, the G-Braves took four of five from their South division counterparts. The G-Braves hold an 8.5 game lead over the Tides in the South Division

Pitching: Norfolk will enter the series with the 13th rated staff in the IL, as they own an ERA of 4.77, which is slightly lower than the Louisville Bats (4.88). Despite owning one of the worst ERA’s in the league, the Tides highly-touted prospect Kevin Gausman has been solid in the rotation. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 31.0 innings. He has struck out 32 batters, while walking 15. He has battled command issues for the first time in his career. Entering the 2014 season, he had walked 15 batters in 97 minor league innings. He will try to turn things around in the series finale.

The G-Braves will counter with five right-handers during the weekend series. Martin has been the best of the group, sporting a 3-2 record with a 2.76 ERA. He leads the league in strikeouts and opponents are hitting .200 against the righty. In the month of May, he is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Since missing to the rotation after an early season relief appearance, Martin is 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA, striking out 48 in 46.0 innings.

The staff will look to turn over leads to closer Juan Jaime. In 17 games, he is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and is 9-for-9 in save chances. He is third in the IL in saves, while his 25 strikeouts in 16.1 innings ranked second among G-Braves relievers. Atahualpa Severino leads all G-Braves relievers with 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.

Batting: With Jose Constanza sidelined by a groin injury, Derrick Mitchell has taken over as one of the regulars in the outfield. The G-Braves haven’t missed a beat, as the right-handed hitting Mitchell has been on fire of late. After batting .143 (6-for-42) with one RBI through his first 22 games, Mitchell is batting .429 (12-for-28) with three homers, eight runs and eight RBIs in last ten games spanning from 5/9 through 5/20. He currently has a seven-game winning streak.

In addition to the hot bat of Mitchell, Todd Cunningham is swinging a hot-stick of late. In 31 contests from late-April to mid-May, Cunningham is batting .344 (42-for-122) with 10 doubles, two homers and 20 RBIs. He is batting .338 (26-for-77) with five doubles, one homer and 12 RBIs during the month of May. Cunningham ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.302, 13th), hits (52, 2nd), RBI (25, T-7th), total bases (69, T-9th) and doubles (11, T-9th).

For Norfolk, everything starts and ends with Quinton Berry. The speedy outfielder is off to a great start, batting .309 (30-for-97) with six doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. He has seven bags and is 5-for-7 in his last two games with a homer and one RBI.

After hitting .176 (15-for-85) during the month of April, Brett Wallace is starting to swing a hot bat in May. The first baseman is hitting .373 (25-for-67) with three doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs. All of his homers have come in the month of May, while raising his season average to .263 (40-for-152) on the season.

Tides Wash: After taking 14 of 21 last season from the G-Braves, the Tides are off to a slow start against Gwinnett going 1-4 in their first five contests.

 

-Jd-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (23-17) vs. Indianapolis Indians (24-17)

Pitching Probables

Sat: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.65) vs. Vance Worley (1-1, 2.08)

Sun: Cody Martin (3-2, 2.72) vs. Jake Brigham (1-2, 3.38)

Mon: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-3, 3.00) vs. Brandon Cumpton (3-1, 1.41)

Bethancourt (Karl L. Moore)

Bethancourt (Karl L. Moore)

Tue: TBA vs. Casey Sadler (4-1, 2.15)

Two International League powers collide in a four-game series beginning Saturday, May 17 at 7:05 PM at Coolray Field. The front-running Indians, Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, roll into the series on a one game winning streak and 3.5 games up on the Columbus Clippers in the IL West, while the G-Braves are winner’s of three straight and are .5 games back of the Durham Bulls in the South Division.

Pitching: Cody Martin, the No. 11 prospect in the Braves organization according to Baseball America, will get the ball in game two. The right-hander has been dominant of late. In his last two starts, he is 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. Martin enters the weekend series tied for the league-lead in strikeouts with 49, and ranking fourth in batting average against at .196.

Rodriguez has handled himself well too. The lefty went a season-high seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits in last start on May 13. He leads the team in wins and is second in ERA and strikeouts (39).

The Indianapolis Indians will counter with four right-handers. Worley will take the ball in game one. In two starts with the Indians, the right-hander has recorded two quality starts with ten strikeouts. His last time out, he went 7.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits vs. Norfolk on 5/12.

Worley has been a nice addition to the rotation, while Cumpton has dominated with the Indians. The righty is 3-1 with a 1.41 ERA. In five starts, he has racked up 15 strikeouts in 32.0 innings, while limiting hitters to a .248 batting average. The Augusta, GA native would rank first in International League in ERA, but is one inning from qualifying.

Batting: Two of the better offenses will matchup this weekend, as the Gwinnett Braves enter with the No. 1 ranked offense, while Indianapolis Indians enter with the No. 3.

The Indians are led by the lethal duo of Gregory Polanco and Andrew Lambo. Polanco, the No. 1 prospect in the Pittsburgh organization according to Baseball America, is batting .380 (60-for-158) with 11 doubles, five triples, five homers and 37 RBIs. Polanco was named IL Batter of the Week on April 14 after batting .500 (14-for-28) with one double, two triples, one homer, six runs and seven RBIs from April 7-13.

Lambo is coming off of a season in which he tallied 33 home runs and 101 RBIs between Double-A Altoona, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. The outfielder is batting .344 (32-for-93) with 13 doubles, one triple, two homers and 19 RBIs. He enters the season rated the No. 21 prospect in the Pirates organization according to Baseball America.

The G-Braves offense will be led by Phil Gosselin. The right-handed hitting Gosselin continues to hit. He has hit safely in 12 of 15 May contests and is batting .328 (21-for-64) with five doubles, two triples and two RBIs during May. On the season, Gosselin is batting .331 (47-for-142) with 11 doubles, two triples and eight RBIs. He leads the team in batting, doubles and triples.

Gosselin leads the team in hitting, but Todd Cunningham has led the squad during the month of May. The switch-hitting outfielder is batting .361 (22-for-61) with five doubles, one homer and eight RBIs during the month of May. Last season, Cunningham hit .417 (5-for-12) with one double and three RBIs against the Indians.

G-Bites: On Friday afternoon, the G-Braves announced that Brandon Boggs was joining the team as he was signed by the Atlanta Braves. Boggs, 31, was released by Atlanta on March 29 after batting .250 (1-for-4) with two RBIs in three Spring Training games.  In 18 games with independent league Bridgeport, he batted .324 (22-for-68) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs. Last season, Boggs combined to hit .236 (97-for-476) with 19 doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 36 RBIs between Triple-A Rochester (Minnesota Twins) and Gwinnett.  He played in 98 games for the G-Braves, batting .248 (83-for-335) with five home runs and 28 RBIs.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churhill

-JD-

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (20-17) at Buffalo Bisons (21-14)

Pitching Probables

Tues: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-3, 3.08) vs. LHP Sean Nolin (2-1, 2.34)

Wed: Gus Schlosser (0-1, 9.82) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (0-1, 6.00)

Thu: Yunesky Maya (0-0, 2.55) vs. Kyle Drabek (3-2, 4.04)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Fri: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.65) vs. Liam Hendriks (5-0, 1.51)

The Gwinnett Braves and Buffalo Bisons will matchup for the final time this season at Coca-Cola Field from May 13 through May 16. Last weekend, the G-Braves took three of four from the Bisons at Coolray Field. Buffalo enters the contest seven games above .500 and in first place of the IL North, while Gwinnett is one game back of the Durham Bulls in the IL South. G-Braves have lost two straight games, while the Bisons have a three-game win streak.

Pitching: Buffalo enters the series with a league-best 3.09 ERA, allowing a league-low 123 runs (107 ER) in 35 games. Gwinnett is at the bottom of the ERA standings, holding a 4.30 ERA (12th in IL) in 37 games.

Buffalo will lean on Nolin and Hendriks to anchor the staff during the series. Nolin will make his second start of the season against Gwinnett. On 5/8, Nolin recorded the loss against the G-Braves, allowing four runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings. Nolin was tough for the first five frames, as he tossed five scoreless before being chased in the sixth. On the season, Nolin is 2-1 with a 2.34 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 34.2 innings.

Hendriks fared a lot better against the G-Braves in his start last week, as he went 7.0 innings, allowing seven hits and one unearned run on 5/6. He did not factor in the decision as Gwinnett scored two in the eighth to clip the Bisons on Tuesday night. Hendriks enters the series leading the league in wins and is second in ERA (1.51). He will pitch the finale on Friday night.

Schlosser will pitch in game two for the G-Braves. Since he was optioned to Gwinnett, the right-hander has been roughed up for eight runs in 7.1 innings. He has allowed four home runs, while striking out seven. Right-handed batters are hitting .333 (6-for-18) with five extra-base hits (two doubles & three homers) against him. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 4.0 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and struck out a season-high five.

Maya will enter Thursday’s contest with the best ERA on the G-Braves. He will make his fourth start of the season since taking over for Mitch Atkins on 4/17. In three starts, he is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He has scattered 13 hits, allowing three earned runs and recording three strikeouts.

Batting: G-Braves enter the series with the best-hitting team in the IL, hitting .275 (354-for-1286) as a team. Despite connecting for 24 homers (10th in the IL), the G-Braves have scored 180 runs (2nd in the IL).

Phil Gosselin continues to pace the squad with a .333 (43-for-129) average. He is second on the team with ten doubles and leads the squad with two triples. He is working on a five-game hitting streak, batting .400 (8-for-20) with four runs scores, three doubles and two RBIs during that span.

Despite snapping his eight-game hitting streak in a pinch-hit appearance Monday afternoon, Todd Cunningham enters the series red hot. In 12 May games, he is batting .373 (19-for-51) with nine runs scored, four doubles, one homer and six RBIs. He is perfect 3-for-3 in stolen base chances.

Buffalo’s lineup has a little bit of everything to offer. Dan Johnson provides the power in the middle of the order (.306 BA, 7 HR, 28 RBI), while Kevin Pillar adds speed and versatility at the top of the order. In 34 games, Pillar is hitting .305 with 13 doubles, three triples, one homer, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases. Pillar leads the team in doubles, triples and is second in RBIs and stolen bases. In four games at Coolray Field last week, Pillar went 6-for-14 with one double, one triple and three RBIs.

South Invasion: Buffalo enters tonight’s contest with an 8-4 record against the South Division in 2014. Three of those losses came to the Braves last week at Coolray Field.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and want most.” -Abraham Lincoln

-JD-

 

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (15-14) vs. Buffalo Bisons (17-10)

Pitching Probables

Mon: TBA vs. TBA

Tue: TBA vs. Liam Hendriks (4-0, 1.26)

Wed: Cody Martin (2-2, 3.64) vs. LHP Sean Nolin (2-0, 1.55)

Tommy La Stella (KarlLMoore)

Tommy La Stella (KarlLMoore)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-3, 2.73) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (0-0, 4.86)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Buffalo Bisons open up a four-game set on Monday night. Gwinnett enters the game only four games back of the front-running Durham Bulls in the South Division standings despite losing four straight games. While, the Buffalo Bisons are leading the North Division and are currently on a six-game winning streak.

Pitching: Gwinnett will have their hands full, as they will face No.1 staff in the International League. Entering today, Buffalo leads the league with a 2.91 ERA. They have logged 244.0 innings, striking out 228 and walking 102. Hendriks, who is second in the league in wins and third in ERA, will take the ball in game two. The former Minnesota Twins’ farmhand has been dominant since moving to the rotation. In four turns, he is 3-0 with 1.46 ERA, striking out 23 batters in 24.1 innings.

Nolin, the game three starter, has been just as impressive. The southpaw is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in five turns this year. Last season, in 21 starts across three levels, he combined to go 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 111.2 innings.

On the other side, Gwinnett enters the contest ranked 11th in ERA. They are the only team in the IL with an ERA over 4.00 and a winning mark.

Martin and Rodriguez have been solid for the G-Braves. Both lost in their last turn of the rotation, but have .500 records and sub-4.00 ERAs.

Despite owning a 3-3 record, Rodriguez has been special all season. The southpaw leads the team in wins, innings (33.0), ERA and is second in strikeouts (31).

Offense: The G-Braves are starting to miss Ernesto Mejia more and more. In the last eight games, the G-Braves have homered once and scored 36 runs, while dropping five of eight.

Joey Terdoslavich has been red hot in the absence of Mejia. He currently has a 14-game hitting streak and leads the team with a .333 (36-for-108) batting average. He has eight doubles, two homer and 10 RBIs on the season.

Despite snapping his 21-game on base streak on Saturday night, Tommy La Stella continues to rake. The lefty is batting .313 (31-for-99) with two doubles and 15 RBIs. He leads the team in RBI and is third in hits.

Buffalo will counter with the IL Batter of the Week, Kevin Pillar. Last week, he led the IL with a .444 batting average, 12 hits and nine RBI, leading Buffalo to a perfect 6-0 record. In 26 games, he is batting .275 (30-for-109) with nine doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs.

In addition to Pillar, the G-Braves will have to deal with Dan Johnson. The former IL MVP, is batting .309 (29-for-94) with a team-leading five homers and 20 RBIs. He has more homers than the whole team combined as he enters play on Monday.

Bison Tracks: Last season, the G-Braves took five of eight from the Bisons, but split the series at Coolray Field.

Quote of the Day: “Every dream you ever have can’t be reached without action.”

-JD-

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (11-14) at Gwinnett Braves (15-10)

Martin (Taylor Botta)

Martin (Taylor Botta)

Probables Pitchers

Thu: Zach Stewart (1-1, 4.98) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (0-2, 3.97)

Fri: Cody Martin (2-1, 2.66) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (1-0, 4.09)

Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-2, 2.67) vs. David Buchanan (3-0, 3.45)

Sun: Mitch Atkins (1-3, 5.01) vs. LHP Greg Smith (2-0, 1.82)

The Gwinnett Braves return home after a solid 4-4 road trip, while the Lehigh Valley IronPigs begin their eight-game swing with a four-game set at Coolray Field. Gwinnett enters the game with a one game lead in the Wild Card lead and two games behind the Durham Bulls in the South division. Lehigh Valley is tied for fifth in the North division and is four games behind the front-running Pawtucket Red Sox.

Pitching: Lehigh Valley comes into the contest with a team ERA of 3.80 through 25 games. The duo of Buchanan and Smith has led the IronPigs rotation. Buchanan leads the league with six starts and his tied for second in wins. He has fanned 19 batters in 28.2 innings. He will get the ball in game three.

Smith has been even better. The southpaw is a perfect 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA. He has recorded three quality starts in four attempts. On April 17, he tossed a complete game shutout against the Syracuse Chiefs. He is one three pitchers in the IL to toss a complete game shutout. He has 18 punch outs in 24.2 innings.

Gwinnett will counter with Stewart, Martin, Rodriguez and Atkins.

Martin has been sensational in his last three starts. The righty has gone 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA over his last three. On April 26, he fanned a season-high ten batters at Toledo. In 23.2 innings, he has recorded 33 punch outs. He will get the ball in game two.

Rodriguez will pitch game three. Through five starts, Rodriguez has recorded three wins, tying his mark from 2013. He has been solid, striking out 28 batters in 27.0 innings. He is coming off of his strongest outing of the season on April 27, as he tossed 7.0 scoreless innings at Toledo.

Batting: The Braves have had to live life without Ernesto Mejia since being released on Saturday to pursue other opportunities. In his absence, Joey Terdoslavich has carried the load. The switch-hitting outfielder has been on a tear of late, recording a hit in his last ten games. On Monday morning, the IL named him the Batter of the Week after posting a .500 average with one homer and three RBIs from 4/21-4/27. On the season, he is batting .330 (30-for-91) with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Tommy La Stella continues to impress in his first season of Triple-A ball. The infielder is hitting .310 (27-for-87) with two doubles and 15 RBIs. He leads the team in RBIs. In 99 plate appearances, the lefty has fanned six times.

Lehigh Valley is off to a slow start at the plate, posting a team batting average of .235 through 25 games. Highly-touted prospect Maikel Franco is having a nightmarish start to the season. The third baseman is hitting .172 (15-for-87) with one homer and seven RBIs. The No.1 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America has fanned 18 times and has committed two errors on the field.

Bacon Bites: Former G-Braves manager Dave Brundage returns to Coolray Field for the second time in his career as an opposing manager. Last season he took three of four from Gwinnett.

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