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