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