Tues: Kanekoa Texeira (1-3, 6.00) vs. LHP Nik Turley (1-2, 6.23)
Wed: Gus Schlosser (6-5, 3.58) vs. LHP Matt Tracy (1-3, 3.76)
Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (6-11, 4.67) vs. Bruce Billings (4-5, 4.94)
Fri: Cody Martin (6-6, 3.45) vs. Bryan Mitchell (2-1, 2.70)
Gwinnett and SWB meet up for the second time in the last five days. In their latest matchup, the RailRiders swept a four game series from the G-Braves at Coolray Field. The G-Braves enter play with the worst record in the IL and are 10.5 games behind the Durham Bulls in the IL South, while the RailRiders are in fifth in the IL North and are 9.0 games behind the Syracuse Chiefs.
Pitching: The matchup feature boasts the No. 9 and No. 10 ranked pitching staffs in the IL. Gwinnett enters at No. 9 with a combined 4.22 ERA, while SWB ranks tenth with a 4.34 ERA.
Rodriguez has been on fire of late for the G-Braves. In his last two starts, he is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER in 12.0 IP). Rodriguez has not allowed a run in over 12.0 innings.
Schlosser has been solid as well. In five appearances (three starts) during the month of July, the righty is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run since July 13, spanning over 10.2 innings. He did not face the RailRiders last time around, as he was recalled by the Atlanta Braves.
SWB will counter with two lefties and two righties. Turley struggled against the G-Braves, while Tracy missed them at Coolray Field.
However, Billings and Mitchell were lights out for the RailRiders. Billings went 7.0 innings, scattering six hits and allowing one run in the no decision.
Mitchell was better, going 5.0 scoreless innings to record his first win of the season. The Reidsville, NC native was even sharper in his last start against the Pawtucket Red Sox on July 27, tossing 7.0 innings of scoreless baseball with a season-high six strikeouts. Mitchell hasn’t allowed a run since July 17.
Batting: Gwinnett lost their most consistent hitter on Saturday night as Phil Gosselin was recalled by the Atlanta Braves. The Braves will rely Todd Cunningham and Jose Constanza to lead the offense. Cunningham enters play with a .277 (99-for-357) batting average with 19 doubles, two triples, five homers and 44 RBI. He leads the squad in hits, doubles, triples, RBI and is four in homers and third in runs scored (41).
Constanza has missed parts of the season, but still leads the team in hitting with a .288 (93-for-323) batting average. He has 21 stolen bases and 27 RBI from the leadoff spot.
SWB is led by Jose Pirela since Zoilo Almonte has been called up by the New York Yankees. The slick-fielding infielder is batting .310 (126-for-407) with 15 doubles, five triples, eight homers and 42 RBI. He was selected to the IL All-Star game.
In the four game series against the G-Braves last week, the RailRiders outhit the home squad 44-to-28 and outscored the G-Braves 24-to-6.
G-Bites: Atlanta Braves’ right-hander Shea Simmons was placed on the DL on Tuesday afternoon. Right-hander Juan Jaime will take his place on the activate Atlanta roster.
Sun: LHP Aaron Laffey (10-4, 2.93) vs. LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-10, 4.79)
Mon: Josh Roenicke (3-4, 5.09) vs. Yunesky Maya (3-2, 2.60)
Tue: Taylor Hill (9-2, 1.90) vs. Gus Schlosser (4-4, 4.33)
Wed: A.J. Cole (0-0, 2.53) vs. Aaron Northcraft (0-0, 6.10)
The Gwinnett Braves welcome the best team in the International League, the Syracuse Chiefs, for a four-game series starting on Sunday, July 6. Syracuse owns a 2.5 game lead on the Rochester Red Wings atop the IL North, while the G-Braves trail the Durham Bulls by 5.0 games in the IL South.
Pitching: Syracuse owns the second-best ERA in the IL with a 3.37. The staff has thrown a league-high 12 shutouts. Anchoring the staff is MLB veteran Aaron Laffey. The southpaw is 10-4 with a 2.93 ERA. He has won five straight games. In the month of June, he went 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA. He struck out 20 batters in 39.0 innings and he will face the G-Braves in game one of the series.
Laffey has been sharp of late, but Hill has dominated the IL all season. The righty leads the league in ERA and is second to Laffey in wins. He was elected to the All Star game on Wednesday and will likely start the mid-summer classic for the IL. He will pitch game three.
The G-Braves will counter with Rodriguez, Maya, Schlosser and Northcraft.
Wednesday’s game will feature two of the top prospects in the organization. Cole, who was recently called up from Double-A, will make his third start of the season. In 10.2 innings, he has fanned seven, while allowing three earned runs.
On the other hand, Northcraft will make his fourth start of the season. The right-hander had his best start of the season last time out. He went six innings, allowing two runs-one earned- on five hits on July 4 against the Durham Bulls.
Northcraft is No. 27 ranked prospect in the Braves system according to Baseball America, while Cole is the No.2 prospect in the Nationals organization.
Batting: All things start and end with Phil Gosselin. The infielder is having a banner season, hitting .317 with 21 doubles, three triples, four homers and 24 RBI. After hitting over .300 in his first three months of the season, IL All Star is off to a slow start in July. He is hitting .176 (3-for-17) with one double, one homer and three RBI.
Brandon Boggs enters the series with a ten-game hitting streak. He is batting .259 (38-for-147) with nine doubles, one triple, six homers and 18 RBI. In five July games, he is hitting .313 (5-for-16) with two RBI.
Syracuse will counter with two of the best hitters in the league, Steven Souza and Brandon Laird. Souza is leading the league in hitting with a .350 batting average. He has 13 homers and 51 RBI. He ranks among the league leaders in many offensive categories.
In addition to Souza, the Chiefs will have Laird in the middle of the lineup. The younger brother of Gerald Laird, is hitting .311 (85-for-273) with eight homers and 47 RBI. He is sixth in the league in hitting and ranks eighth in RBI.