Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (54-67) vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (68-54)
Mon: Zach Stewart (5-3, 4.42) vs. LHP Chris Hernandez (4-7, 4.15)
Tue: Cody Martin (6-7, 3.84) vs. Steven Wright (5-2, 2.70)
Wed: Aaron Northcraft (0-6, 6.33) vs. Anthony Ranaudo (13-4, 2.58)
Thu: Kanekoa Texeira (3-3, 4.59) vs. Matt Barnes (5-8, 4.36)
The Gwinnett Braves and the Pawtucket Red Sox meet for the final time in the 2014 season starting on Monday, August 11 at 6:35 PM at Coolray Field. The two squads split the series in Rhode Island during the month of May. Since then, the teams are going in opposite directions as the G-Braves have fallen to last place in the South division, while the Red Sox are closing in a playoff berth for the second straight season.
Pitching: Gwinnett will go with four right-handers for their series against the Red Sox.
Stewart is the only one with experience against the Red Sox this season. On May 29, he tossed 7.1 innings, scattering six hits, allowing three runs with three strikeouts to pick up his third win of the season. Since, Stewart has spent some time on the DL and worked out of the bullpen in his last four appearances. He will make his first start since June 3.
Pawtucket, featuring the second-best staff in the International League with a 3.50 ERA, will look to tame the fourth best offense in the league.
Hurlers Steven Wright and Anthony Ranaudo will look to continue their dominance of IL opponents. Ranaudo has a league-best 13 wins, while his 2.58 ERA ranks third in the league. On May 26, he tossed 6.2 scoreless innings against the G-Braves to collect his fifth win of the season. Ranaudo made his MLB debut on August 1 against the New York Yankees.
Wright joined Pawtucket halfway through the season. In 12 starts for the Red sox, he is 5-2 with a 2.70 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 72.2 innings. He second on the team in ERA, fourth in starts and tied for third in wins. After posting a 4-1 record with a 2.04 ERA in eight starts prior to the All-Star break, Wright has gone 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in four starts since the mid-summer classic.
Batting: Gwinnett enters the series 13th in homers (70) and 11th in runs scored (497), but fourth in batting average (.268). The Braves have struggled with runners on base, leaving a total of 878 runners behind.
Joe Leonard is on fire. He has hit in six straight games and is batting .526 (10-for-19) with two doubles, one homer and six RBIs during the month of August. The infielder clubbed his first career Triple on August 6 at Charlotte. It was his first homer in over 208 games.
Joining Leonard with a hot bat has been Ozzie Martinez. The middle infielder is hitting .429 (9-for-21) with one double and three RBI in six game during the month of August.
Pawtucket’s offense will be led by Mookie Betts. In 38 games with the Paw Sox, he is batting .325 (50-for-154) with eight doubles, two triples, five homers and 27 RBI. He has nine stolen bases in 13 attempts.
G-Bites: Chasen Shreve has been a great addition to the Gwinnett bullpen. Since being optioned to Gwinnett, the lefty is 0-0 with two saves in four appearances with the G-Braves. He has allowed three hits and has six strikeouts in 4.0 innings.
“Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient, and the best things come to those who dont give up.”