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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.

Tribute to Big Ern

The Gwinnett Braves parted ways with a valuable member of their franchise on Saturday afternoon. Slugger Ernesto Mejia was relieved of his contract with the Atlanta Braves organization, so he could pursue a career overseas in the Japanese League.

Mejia served as the Gwinnett Braves first baseman for 2+ seasons. In 287 games with the G-Braves, he hit .279 (302-for-1198) with 59 homers and 199 RBI. He scored 143 runs, while swiping 18 bases.

In 2012, he was named IL Rookie of the Year after batting .296 (152-for-514) with 24 homers and 92 RBI. He earned back-to-back IL mid-season All-Star honors in 2012-2013, while leading the league in RBI both seasons.

He leaves the Gwinnett Braves as the single-season home run leader with 28, as he set the mark in 2013. While, also ranking among the G-Braves all-time leaders in homers (59, 1st), doubles (72, 1st), RBI (199. 1st), hits (302, 2nd) and runs (143, 4th).

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During his time with the G-Braves he did more than enough to earn a spot with the big club, but the opportunity never presented itself at the major league level. With the emergence of Freddie Freeman at first base and others viable options on the bench, Mejia was stuck in a bad situation. Despite his lack of opportunity, the Guenare, Venezuela native didn’t get discouraged.

“But I don’t feel stuck. I know I have a lot of talent and work hard. I just happen to be behind a great first baseman and a team with so much talent that I can’t even get a spot on the bench. It’s baseball. You never know what’s going to happen,” he said in an April 26 interview with David Purdum of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Baseball answered his call with a great opportunity to showcase his talent overseas. Mejia will join the Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League. Mejia will try and continue his hot start from 2014, in which he hit .354 (28-for-79) with seven homers and 24 RBI for the G-Braves.

Hopefully Big Ern does great things in the Far East and returns to the states to live out his dream of playing in the big leagues.

Like he said to me a season ago after breaking the G-Braves home run record,

“Me sueño es jugar en las grandes ligas. Pero ahorita tengo que luchar y trabajar duro. Si la oportunidad se presenta voy hacer todo en mi poder para quedarme con el quipo grande, pero si no se presenta voy a continuar a jugar a lo mejor de mi talento.”

“My dream is to play in the big leagues. But, for now I have to keep fighting and work hard. If the opportunity presents itself (at the MLB level) I will do everything in my power to stay with the big team, but if it doesn’t present itself I’m going to do the best I can with my abilities.

Writer’s Note: I covered Big Ern for a little over a season. He was one of the most engaging players in the G-Braves clubhouse, and made the best every opportunity. Ultimately knowing his fate with the Braves franchise, Mejia was never discouraged and went out there and let it fly. I saw him hit over half-a-dozen majestic clouts in his time with Gwinnett, but not a single one more memorable than his record breaker on July 20, 2013 against Brandon Cumpton. After the homer, I recall asking him how it felt to break a G-Braves record.

He humbly answered, “Honestly, I didn’t know. Obviously, I’m very excited. I never expected it. I think it’s a result of all the hard work.”

The work has shown and will continue to show with the Lions. While, Mejia will be missed in the middle of the G-Braves order, you couldn’t be more delighted to for an individual to get a great opportunity like this.

“Use your imagination. Imagine the life you want to live, and live it!” –Jack Ramsey.

-JD-

Joey Terdoslavich Named IL Batter of the Week

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The International League office has awarded Gwinnett Braves outfielder Joey Terdoslavich with Batter of the Week honors for the period of April 21-27. Terdoslavich is the second G-Brave to win the award this season, joining former Gwinnett first baseman Ernesto Mejia (April 7).

(Karl L Moore)

(Karl L Moore)

Terdoslavich, 25, has been red hot in the past week. He recorded hits in all seven contests from April 21-27, batting .500 (13-for-26) with three doubles, one home run, four RBIs and nine runs scored. The G-Braves went 4-3 in that span.

After batting .235 (12-for-51) through his first 13 games of 2014, Terdoslavich has hit safely in his last eight games, raising his batting average to .317. He currently ranks among IL leaders in runs scored (T-7th, 16), hits (T-9th, 26), total bases (12th, 40) and batting average (15th). Last season, the switch-hitting outfielder was named an IL postseason All-Star after batting .318 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs in 85 games with the G-Braves. His contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves on July 4, 2013 and he spent the rest of the season with Atlanta.

Terdoslavich and the Gwinnett Braves continue their road trip on Monday night as they play game three of a four-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM. Right-hander Mitch Atkins (1-2, 4.86) will start for the G-Braves, while the Mud Hens will counter with left-hander Robbie Ray (2-2, 1.93). Tony Schiavone will have the play by play call beginning at 6:15 PM on wdun.com, GwinnettBraves.com, TuneIn Radio and the MiLB First Pitch app.

The G-Braves return to Coolray Field on Thursday, May 1 at 6:35 PM against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Tickets for all home games are available for purchase now by calling the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340 and by visiting GwinnettBraves.com.

-JD-

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (11-6) at Columbus Clippers (6-10)

Tue: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (2-1, 2.40) vs. Trevor Bauer (1-0, 0.75)

Daniel Rodriguez (Photo Credit KarlLMoore)

Daniel Rodriguez (Photo Credit KarlLMoore)

Wed: Mitch Atkins (1-2, 5.40) vs. LHP T.J. House (1-1, 2.45)

Thu: TBA vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-2, 7.56)

Fri: RHP Zach Stewart (1-0, 5.06) vs. Josh Tomlin (0-1, 4.00)

The Gwinnett Braves are on a roll, winning seven straight games and taking full possession of first place in the Wild Card standings. With the 6-3 win over the Charlotte Knights on Monday night, the G-Braves tied their franchise record for consecutive wins at seven. Gwinnett has accomplished the feat four times before last night, once in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Pitching: Gwinnett will have their hands full this week with the Clippers’ staff. On Tuesday night, they will face the No. 3 prospect in the Indians organization, Bauer. In two starts for the Clippers, Bauer has been outstanding, hurling 12.0 innings of one run ball with 18 strikeouts.

Left-hander T.J. House will be especially tough on Wednesday night. The southpaw comes in with a 1-1 mark and a 2.45 ERA. He has fanned nine in 11.0 innings, while posting a 0.91 WHIP. House made one start against Gwinnett in 2013, hurling 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits in the no-decision.

Bauer has fared the best against the G-Braves in his career, going 0-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts. Tomlin made one start against Gwinnett in 2013, going 5.0 innings, allowing seven hits, three runs in the no-decision.

Gwinnett will counter with Rodriguez, Atkins and Stewart, while they wait for their Thursday starter to be announced.

Rodriguez has been the Braves’ best starter in the month of April. In three starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He has tossed five innings in each of his three starts, while punching out 19 batters.

Stewart will be the only Braves pitcher with previous experience against the Clippers. Last season, the right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against Columbus for the Charlotte Knights. This season, Stewart has been solid for the G-Braves, going 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA. In his last start on 4/20, he went a season-high six innings, allowing three runs for his first win of the season.

Batting: The G-Braves are scolding hot at the dish, as they enter the series with a league-high 97 runs. They also own the third-highest batting average in the league (.280).

Phil Gosselin is leading the way with a .404 (19-for-47) batting average. The infielder enters the series with the second highest batting average in the league, behind Gregory Polanco of the Indianapolis Indians.

Ernesto Mejia and Tommy La Stella aren’t too far behind. Mejia is fifth in the league with a .379 (25-for-66) batting average. He has seven homers and 22 RBIs. He is second in the league in dingers and is tied for first in RBI. While, La Stella enters with a .346 (10th in IL) batting average. Since moving to third in the order, La Stella is hitting .375 (12-for-32) with one double and eight RBIs.

Columbus has been in the middle of the pack offensively, but Jesus Aguilar and Jose Ramirez have been standouts. Aguilar is hitting .386 (22-for-57) with five doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs, while Ramirez is hitting .333 (21-for-63) with two doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. Aguilar is the No.15 prospect in the Cleveland organization according to Baseball America, while Ramirez is the No.9 prospect.

Mike Minor Quotes: 4.19.14

Following Mike Minor’s rehab start on Saturday night with the Gwinnett, Grant McCauley (790 the Zone) and David Friedlander (Gwinnett Daily Post) caught up with the left-hander. In his four rehab appearance, Minor went 6.0 innings, allowing three runs.

Mike Minor (Chris Roughgarden)

Mike Minor (Chris Roughgarden)

D.F: After that rough first inning you have to be pretty pleased with how you bounced back?

“Yeah. It was a tough first inning but other than I started working in some breaking pitches and changeups. I feel like I got them off balance a little bit.”

G.M: As you gone through this process is there a way you have integrated each of your pitches as you gone along or is it more about building arm strength and getting yourself ready.?

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I think the main thing is going out there and being healthy and getting the pitch count up. Then in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth innings try to work in some breaking pitches. Obviously early on, I tried to get the fastball established on both sides of the plate and then try and throw some breaking balls in there for strikes. “

D. F: What do you feel like you corrected from the first inning to the second?

“It really wasn’t anything. It was kind of the same thing. I left some pitches over the plate and they were aggressive. I left some balls over the middle of the plate and they took some good cuts. They were aggressive and hit the ball hard.”

G.M: Pitch count is up to 80, do you feel like you’re ready to go make that start in five days?

“Yeah, I think so. I could have thrown up to 90 this time. I think last time I threw 69 pitches or so. This time it was 80, I didn’t look at my velo(city) but I think it was alright. I’m glad I came out healthy and feel pretty good.”

G.M: Obviously, you have kept tabs on what the big club is doing. Their starting rotation is doing pretty well. How excited are you to get back up there and contribute.

“Those guys have been doing a heck of a job and I don’t want to let them down coming in there. I think we have the league-leading ERA right now, and hopefully I won’t skyrocket that, but I think I will be alright.”

 

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (4-6) vs. Norfolk Tides (3-7)

Mon: Zach Stewart (0-0, 5.40) vs. Mike Wright (0-0, 0.00)

Tues: Cody Martin (0-1, 6.43) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-0, 2.08)

The Gwinnett Braves and Norfolk Tides meet for the fourth time this season on Monday night. Gwinnett took the first series matchup, winning two of three at Norfolk. In the three contests, Gwinnett scored 18 runs.

Pitching: The Tides will feature two star-studded prospects in Gausman and Wright.

Gausman has been dominant in two starts for the Tides. He is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA with ten strikeouts in 8.2 innings. He pitched against the G-Braves on Thursday, going 4.0 innings, allowing two runs and striking out four in the no-decision. Last season, the hard-throwing right-hander breezed through the minor league ranks, making 13 minor league starts before he was summoned by the Baltimore Orioles to make his Major League debut on May 23. He appeared in 20 games for the Orioles, going 3-5 with a 5.66 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 47.2. Enters the 2014 season the No.2 prospect in the Orioles organization according to Baseball America.

Wright will make his second start of the season on Monday. He has gone 5.0 innings without allowing a run. . The former third rounder in the 2011 draft out of the University of East Carolina features a mid-90’s fastball, slider, curve and change-up. Wright enters the season as the No.8 ranked prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America.

The Braves will counter with Stewart and Martin. Stewart pitched well against the Tides last week, going 5.0 innings, allowing three runs on the three hits, while Martin was hit around for four runs in 4.0 innings. Martin enters the season as the Braves No. 11 prospect in the organization according to Baseball America.

Hitting: Both teams are scuffling at the dish. In the weekend series against the Bulls, the G-Braves scored five runs, while Norfolk holds a team-batting average of .232 (9th in the IL).

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Norfolk is led by Caleb Joseph at the plate. The infielder is hitting .367 (11-for-30) with three doubles, one homer and six RBIs. In two games against Gwinnett in 2014, he is 2-for-8 with a homer and two RBIs. Former first round pick Jemile Weeks is off to a solid start for Norfolk. In eight games, the second baseman is batting .333 (9-for-27) with one double, two triples and two RBIs. Last night, he snapped his seven-game hitting streak with a 0-for-2 performance against Charlotte.

Gwinnett has cooled off after scoring 41 runs in their first seven games.

Phil Gosselin is still leading the way with a .481 (13-for-27) batting average with four doubles and three RBIs. He has been solid playing all three positions on the diamond. In two games against the Tides, he hit 6-for-9 with four runs and two doubles. Ernesto Mejia leads the league with six homers and has 12 RBIs in 10 games. In his last two games, he is 4-for-7 with one homer and two RBIs.

Home Win: Last season, the Braves started the season 4-0 at home. This year they are off to an 0-3 start.

-JD-

 

 

Gavin Floyd Postgame Quotes 4.13.14

On Sunday afternoon, Gavin Floyd took the mound for the Gwinnett Braves in his third rehab start of the 2014 season. The right-hander went 3.2 innings, allowing two hits, two runs-one earned with three walks and three strikeouts. Despite a rough first two innings, Floyd retired the last six batters he faced. He threw 73 pitches and 43 strikes in the 3-1 loss to Durham.

After the game I stopped by to check in on the Atlanta Brave.

How did you feel out there?

GF: “First couple innings I was just trying to make adjustments because I was rushing a little bit. I was able to make that adjustment in the third and fourth inning. I was glad I was able to make that adjustment and end the game on a good note.”

You had a rocky few first inning, what did you start doing differently in the last two frames?

GF: “My pace was quick. Everything was going too fast. I kept jumping at the plate. So I refocused and took a breather. I was able to slow myself down a little bit and make pitches.”

What were you trying to accomplish with this start? Was it a result oriented start or just another live workday?

GF: “Obviously you want results as a pitcher. In an ideal world, I wish I would have gone all five innings and pitched 75, but I’m glad I’m going through this. I had a good start last time, and today is a little bump in the road. I had tough two first innings, but I got a chance to figure it out. I need these things to get ready for when I do come back. I feel like being able to make an adjustment like that and being able to make good pitches will only help me out. I think that’s good thing to be able to get in a groove and work through some things on the mound. This will only help to make the adjustments a lot quicker when I do come back.”

How do you feel health wise?

GF: I feel good. Elbow is good. Stamina is too.

-JD-

Gwinnett Braves (4-3) vs. Durham Bulls (5-3)

Series probables
Fri: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (1-0, 0.00)
Sat: Mitch Atkins (0-1, 6.75) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (0-0, 2.25)
Sun: Gavin Floyd (0-0, 5.06) vs. Nathan Karns (0-1, 13.50)

The Gwinnett Braves will welcome the Durham Bulls for a three game set starting on Friday, April 11 at Coolray Field.

Last weekend, the squads met for a four game set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. They ended up splitting the series, as Durham took game one and four, while the Braves took care of business in game two and three.

Pitching: The home opener will feature two southpaws that shut down the respective opposition last weekend. Rodriguez tossed 5.0 IP, allowing two hits, one run and struck out nine as he recorded the victory on Saturday night; while, Montgomery dominated Sunday’s matinee, tossing 5.0 innings of scoreless baseball in the Bulls 8-1 victory. He allowed three hits, three walks and struck out seven.

Game three will feature Gavin Floyd, as he makes his third rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves. After a shaky first start, Floyd was solid on Tuesday night. He tossed 4.0 innings, scattering three hits, allowing one run and striking out two. He threw 60 pitches, 37 for strikes in the no decision victory by the Braves.

Former Nationals prospect Nathan Karns will get the ball in game three. The right-hander has got off to a slow start, allowing 11 runs in 7.1 innings (13.50 ERA). He has walked ten batters and struck out ten, so he has electric stuff but is hampered with control issues. He will look to get back on track on Sunday afternoon.
The Braves will have to get to the Bulls pitching staff early, as the back end of the bullpen has been tough on opponents. Right-hander Kirby Yates is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has allowed one hit, no runs with four strikeouts in 4.0 innings.

Batting: Ernesto Mejia has headlined the G-Braves offense with five homers and 10 RBIs in seven games, but Phil Gosselin and Tommy La Stella are off to solid starts. Gosselin leads the team with a .500 (10-for-20) batting average with a team-high three doubles. In three games against Durham last weekend, Gosselin went 4-for-11 with three runs scored, one double and one RBI. La Stella has been just as good, batting .308 (4-for-13) with one double and three triples. La Stella has also drawn four walks in five games.

Durham is off to great start offensively, scoring 40 runs in eight games. They have relied on the long ball, slugging eight round trippers this season. Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian, Kevin Kiermaier and Jerry Sands have each clubbed two. Sands is off to the best start of the four of them, batting .333 (10-for-30) with six doubles and six RBIs.

Staying Figgy with it: Cole Figueroa is off to another great start for the Durham Bulls… The infielder is batting .463 (6-for-13) with two doubles. In his career, he has batted .356 (42-for-118) with 16 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, one homer and 20 RBIs against the G-Braves. Last season, Figueroa batted .355 (27-for-76) with six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs, while only striking out twice in 18 games against Gwinnett.

 

-JD-

G-Braves Set For Action Packed Opening Homestand

FWORKS

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen! Given the bitter weather we’ve had, I’m sure we’re all ready to say good riddance to Old Man Winter and start enjoying the sunshine. Thankfully, the Gwinnett Braves open this weekend with enough baseball and family fun on the slate to help you shed your winter dreariness.

The 2014 Season will start off with a BANG! – literally. The Gwinnett Braves will be hosting the division-rival Durham Bulls as Opening Night ceremonies commence this Friday, April 11th at 7:05pm. The contest will feature the 1st of 10 Friday Fireworks shows to captivate fans of all ages with a flurry of sound and color. To further add to the ambiance of this occasion, Timothy Miller, a regular performer and Opening Day ‘God Bless America’ performer at Turner Field, will be on hand to sing our National Anthem. Additionally, the first 2,000 fans through the gates will receive a commemorative Opening Weekend T-shirt, courtesy of Georgia Power. And, as if that weren’t enough, the forecast for game time (as of now) this Friday will be mid 60’s and no chance of rain ;).

We didn’t think it was possible, but our 2nd game of the young season might even be MORE exciting than the first! This Saturday, April 12th, the Gwinnett Braves will be welcoming the man most synonymous with Atlanta Braves Baseball over the last 20 years –that’s right- Chipper Jones! We will be honoring the Braves legend pregame, and he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. But don’t forget! Saturday will also be our 2014 Magnet Schedule giveaway. Unlike in years past, this year’s schedule will feature a jersey shaped die cut, that’ll certainly be worth adding to your Braves memorabilia collection! Game starts at 7:05pm, with gates opening an hour before (6:05) for fans to take in the experience.

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Kids 12 and under get to run the bases after Sundays game

Or first Sunday Family Funday will be a chance for the WHOLE family to be in on the baseball fun, as the Gwinnett Braves host the 1st of 2 Bark in the Park events at Coolray field this season. The G-Braves are giving fans the opportunity to bring their dogs to the park so they, too can cheer on their favorite team. Waste bags and watering stations will be provided. As a reminder, Sundays at Coolray Field means Catch on the Field pregame, and Kids 12 and under Run the Bases post game!

Sunday, April 13th will also be a time to honor our loved ones who have fought, are currently fighting, or have lost their battle with cancer. To honor their memory and their on-going fight, the Gwinnett Braves have teamed up with Relay for Life of Gwinnett County to provide them with a special day for the community to show its support. The G-Braves encourage ALL fans to wear purple. Gates will open at 1:05pm for this 2:05pm start time.

The remaining two games of the 5-game opening homestand will conclude with a special 2 game series against another division foe, the Norfolk Tides. Both games will begin at 6:35pm and will offer big fun at even BIGGER savings! Monday, April 14th will feature our first Kids Eat Free night, where children 12 and under will receive a voucher for a hotdog, chips and a soda upon entry. Tuesday, April 15th will feature a new promotion this season, Two-for-Tuesday! On every Tuesday home game, fans will enjoy 50% off the regular price of all Infield Box and Field Box seats!

With 5 straight days jammed-packed full of fun, the G-Braves are proud to usher in a new season in Gwinnett that is sure to be the biggest and most fun for fans of all ages. For more information on how you too can be a part of the fun, call us at 678.277.0300 or visit GwinnettBraves.com. We’ll see you there!

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (2-2) at Norfolk Tides (1-3)

Mon: Zach Stewart (0-0, 0.00) vs. Suk-min Yoon (0-0, 0.00)

Tues: Gavin Floyd (0-0, 13.50) vs. Mike Wright (0-0, 0.00)

Wed: Cody Martin (0-0, 3.00) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-0, 0.00)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80) vs. Steve Johnson (0-0, 3.00)

The Gwinnett Braves and Norfolk Tides meet for the first time in the 2014 campaign at Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA starting Monday night. The four-game set will conclude the G-Braves current road trip, as they split with Durham to start the season.

Pitching: The G-Braves pitching staff has been touched up for 23 runs (21 ER) in 34.0 IP and are last in the IL with a 5.56 team ERA through the first four games of the season… Daniel Rodriguez had the strongest showing of the weekend. The southpaw went 5.0 innings, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out nine. He recorded his first win of the season and first victory since May 28, 2013. He will get the ball in game four of the series. Last season, he made one start against the Tides, tossing 4.2 innings, scattering three hits and allowing three runs. He was not a part of the decision, as the G-Braves won the contest 5-4 in extra innings on April 15.

(Daniel Rodriguez/ Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden)

(Daniel Rodriguez/ Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden)

Despite dropping three games to the Knights, the Tides’ pitching staff has been real strong in 2014. In four games, they have posted a 2.50 ERA, while striking out 43 batters in 36.0 IP.

Yoon and Wright will make their first starts of the 2014 season on Monday and Tuesday. Yoon, 27, is coming over from the Korean League. In 2011, he was named the Korean Baseball Organization MVP after leading the league in wins (17), ERA (2.45) and strikeouts (178).

Wright is coming off of a strong 2013 campaign, as he dominated the Double-A circuit, going 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 26 starts for Bowie. On September 2, he was called up to Triple-A Norfolk to make his debut. He delivered seven shutout innings, scattering six hits and striking out two. The former third rounder in the 2011 draft out of the University of East Carolina features a mid-90’s fastball, slider, curve and change-up. Wright enters the season as the No.8 ranked prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America.

Gausmann and Johnson will round out the Norfolk rotation for the weekday series. Both right-handers threw in the opening weekend series against Charlotte, but received no decisions. They combined to strike out 10 batters in 7.1 innings.

Batting: Ernesto Mejia is coming off of a huge week with the G-Braves. In four games, he hit .308 (4-for-13) with four homers and seven RBIs. He was named IL Batter of the Week for his outstanding work at the dish. Last season, Mejia hit .347 (25-for-72) with five doubles, eight homers and 16 RBIs in 19 games against the Tides.

Infielder Phil Gosselin also had a solid opening week. The right-handed hitter batted .364 (1-for-11) with one double and one RBI, while playing shortstop and third base. Gosselin fared well against Norfolk in 2013, hitting .275 (14-for-51) with two homers and six RBIs.

Norfolk is off to a slow start offensively, scoring six runs in four games against Charlotte.

Henry Urrutia is batting .143 (2-for-14) with one RBI and two strikeouts. Last season, he hit .316 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 29 games with Norfolk. He was even better against Gwinnett, batting .356 (16-for-46) with two doubles, one triple, one homer and 10 RBIs. He will try and get Norfolk back on track this week.

Tides News: The Orioles have acquired right-hander Preston Guilmet from the Indians in exchange for infielder Torsten Boss. Guilmet was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

-JD-

 

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