Results tagged ‘ Gwinnett Braves ’
Yesterday, I delved a bit into the background of right-hander Wirfin Obispo, the hard-throwing Gwinnett Braves closer who was just added to the Atlanta Braves’ 40-man roster last Friday. Today, it’s time to do the same for the other newest 40-man addition, left-hander Ryan Buchter.
The 26-year-old Buchter emerged as a bullpen force for the G-Braves last season, compiling a 4-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in 51 relief appearances. In addition to converting all five of his save chances, the southpaw also ranked among International League relief leaders in strikeouts per 9.0 IP ratio (1st, 14.95) and lowest opponent batting average (3rd, .168). Buchter’s most impressive work came down the stretch as he posted a 0.00 ERA over his final 14 appearances in August and September.
Much like Obispo, Buchter’s “breakout” season in 2013 came after a well-traveled start to his career. Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, the New Jersey native has already been traded twice. The Nationals dealt him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery in 2008, and the Cubs moved him to Atlanta in a deal for right-hander Rodrigo Lopez in 2011. Amid the ever-changing scenery, including stops in eight different leagues, Buchter put together All-Star seasons in the Class-A Midwest League in 2009 and the Double-A Southern League in 2010.
Buchter’s travels and subsequent learning experiences were featured in a story I wrote for the final regular-season issue of Tomahawk Talk last year. In it, he reflected on his unlikely discovery by the Nationals, the benefits of being traded, his confidence gained from the 2012 Arizona Fall League, his “rollercoaster” 2013 season in Gwinnett and more.
Buchter Breaks Out
Left-hander Ryan Buchter has emerged as a go-to arm out of the Gwinnett Braves bullpen in 2013
by Dave Lezotte (published in Tomahawk Talk, August 26, 2013)
He may not qualify as the biggest prospect arm on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster, but what left-hander Ryan Buchter has been able to do in his first full Triple-A season is nothing short of impressive. The New Jersey native has held International League hitters to a .178 batting average, striking out 83 over 51 innings in 42 outings this year.
Buchter’s professional career, including stops with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs organizations, has always been a bit under-the-radar. Even his signing by Washington came about almost on accident.
“It was a mistake,” said Buchter about his discovery by the Nationals. ”I ended up pitching against somebody who was being scouted already. I kind of outpitched him, and it all started from there.”
The pitcher being scouted by both the Nationals and the Cubs was Winslow Township High School right-hander Chris Rollins. The Nationals passed on Rollins in the 2005 First Year Player Draft, but took Buchter in the 33rd round out of Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ.
A draft-and-follow selection, Buchter attended Gloucester County Community College in nearby Sewell, NJ before starting his professional career in 2006 at age 19. His first two seasons as a Nationals’ farmhand were anything but successful. In his first year in the Gulf Coast League, he went 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in 11 games, one start. The next year, he went 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA at Short-A Vermont. He finally showed some promise in 2008, going 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 games between the GCL and Class-A Hagerstown, but was traded away after the season.
The Nationals dealt Buchter to the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery on November 3, 2008. The change of scenery proved to be a turning point in his career.
“Getting traded kind of jump-started me,” said Buchter about the move to the Cubs. ”It made me take a different path in my career. I started to work a little harder that off-season and it started to show right away. From there, I kept building and building. I attribute (my success) to being traded and not wanting to let the new team down.”
With his career refreshed in a new organization, Buchter put together two award-winning seasons in the Cubs’ system. In 2009, he made his first professional All-Star Game, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and five saves in 38 games for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class-A Midwest League. A year later, he was an All-Star again in the Double-A Southern League, going 7-2 with a 4.65 ERA in 47 games for the Tennessee Smokies. His third campaign as a Cub began with mixed results as he split time between Tennessee and Advanced-A Daytona, but another shakeup was imminent.
On May 26, 2011, Buchter was traded for the second time. The Cubs sent him to Atlanta in exchange for 35-year-old right-hander Rodrigo Lopez.
“I was just sent down to High-A to iron out some kinks,” reflected Buchter on the time of the trade. ”I started throwing well in Daytona with the intention of (moving back up) to Double-A or Triple-A. When I got traded, (Daytona manager Buddy Bailey) pulled me aside and said ‘I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, you’ve been traded. The bad news is, you’re going back to High-A.’ That was a difficult thing to handle.”
Buchter started his Atlanta Braves’ career with Advanced-A Lynchburg, going 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a career-high 15 savs in 2011. In 2012, he moved on to Double-A Mississippi, returning to the Southern League for the first time since pitching with Tennessee. Facing familiar competition, he boasted a 3-1 record, 1.31 ERA and four saves in 35 relief outings for the M-Braves.
“I just went out and did what I knew I could do,” said Buchter about his success. ”Just give me an opportunity and I’ll pitch and throw well, especially late in the game. I embraced the role I was being used in, seventh, eighth, sometimes ninth (inning) and it worked out.”
His stint with Mississippi worked out for a late-season promotion to Gwinnett for his Triple-A debut. Buchter went 0-2 with a 10.12 ERA in nine outings for the G-Braves, indicating that he still needed some refinement. A trip to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League and an extended look in Braves’ Major League camp during the spring helped him regain confidence.
“It helped me iron out some bad habits that I created when I came up here (to Gwinnett),” said Buchter about his fall and spring assignments. ”It made me realize that I can get anybody out. I can get the prospects out; I can get the big league guys out. Once you realize that, I don’t want to say the game becomes easier, but you start to have a little more faith in yourself.”
Buchter began his 2013 season on Gwinnett’s Opening Day roster and was nearly unhittable early, postin a 1.00 ERA in nine April outings. He came back down to earth in the summer months, going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 28 games from May through July, but found his best stuff in August. Through his first seven games, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save.
“It’s been a pretty fun rollercoaster,” said Buchter about 2013. ”With pitching, it’s easy to be a perfectionist and want to go out and pick yourself apart for giving up a walk or giving up a hit. Sometimes the hardest thing is to realize that if you throw up a zero (no runs), it’s actually a good inning no matter what else happens.”
He’s had plenty of those good innings lately for Gwinnett, most of them in pivotal spots. With the departure of closer Cory Rasmus to the Los Angeles Angels in a July trade, Buchter has been given more opportunities to pitch with late leads and in save situations. Pitching in tight ballgames is something he relishes.
“The game’s a little more fun when you’re out there and you’re up by one, down by one and you know your team needs you to throw up a zero,” said Buchter. ”It’s something that I’ve learned to embrace and I look forward to a one-run game. I get a little antsy in the bullpen hoping they’ll call down and say my name, that way I get a chance to come in.”
Buchter has climbed to the top of the league in relief strikeouts thanks to a fastball that sits in the mid-90′s and a willingness to challenge hitters with it. For the left-hander, getting ahead in the count quickly is the key to his prolific strikeout numbers.
“If I get ahead, a lot of times my success rate is a lot higher than a lot of guys,” said Buchter. ”Get strike one, and then I try to pitch to one side of the plate for righties and lefties. If I get two strikes on a guy, then I’ll try to put him away. It’s a very simple game plan. A lot of fastballs; then I’ll mix the cutter in and then try to put them away with the breaking ball.”
Buchter’s professional career started with an unlikely discovery, progressed with three different organizations and has resulted in a 2013 season that has him closer than ever to the Major Leagues. While he waits for a shot at Atlanta’s bullpen, he remains optimistic and focused.
“Obviously, you’re waiting for your turn, and for a lot of bullpen guys, it’s luck,” said Buchter. ”It’s luck and what the team has planned for you. They may have a plan for you, they might not, but you’ve got to continue to stay focused on the task at hand down here (in Gwinnett). It’s good to just keep your mind on things down here and do your job every day. If you don’t do your job here, they’re not going to be looking for you anyway.”
The Atlanta Braves will certainly be giving Buchter a long look when Spring Training starts up in February. For the first time in his career, he has the stability that comes from being on a Major League 40-man roster.
Fri: LHP Yohan Flande (7-6, 4.42) vs. RHP David Buchanan (1-0, 2.57)
Sat: RHP Cody Martin (2-3, 2.96) vs. LHP Greg Smith (6-2, 2.50)
Sun: RHP David Hale (6-6, 2.99) vs. LHP Adam Morgan (1-5, 4.05)
Mon: RHP Omar Poveda (5-7, 3.42) vs. LHP Tom Cochran (3-6, 5.70)
The Gwinnett Braves enter the series coming off back-to-back one-run victories over the Norfolk Tides, while Lehigh Valley has dropped two straight games. The IronPigs have slipped to fourth place in the North Division and sit two games out of the Wild Card lead.
Batters: The G-Braves offense has been held to four runs or less in their last eight games. They have found a way to win three of those games, but runs are at a premium for the Braves… Ernesto Mejia will try to carry the offense. In his last contest, he hit a game-winning home run against the Norfolk Tides. On the season, he has belted 28 dingers, while hitting .243 (95-for-391) with a league-leading 77 RBI. Stefan Gartrell has carried a hot bat the last five days. In four games, he is hitting .417 (5-for-12) with a solo homer.
Pitchers: In the last six games, the pitching staff has allowed 12 runs (11 earned), while logging 47 innings on the mound. They have posted a 2.11 ERA in that span, allowing 32 hits, 13 walks and striking out 41… Yohan Flande has led the way, winning three straight contests and being named IL Pitcher of the Week last week. In his last three starts, he has gone 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA (3ER/23IP), while fanning 15 and issuing one walk. He will try to improve to improve on his 7-6 mark, as he takes the ball in game one.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Batters: The IronPigs lineup features multiple table-setters and one big bopper in Cody Oberdeck. The first baseman leads the team in homers (19), runs (51) , RBI (58) and possesses a .265 (99-for-373) batting average…. Cesar Hernandez is one of the table-setters at the top of the lineup. The No. 15 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America is having a stellar campaign with the IronPigs. In 87 games, he is hitting .310 (104-for-335) with 11 doubles, eight triples, two homers and 31 RBI.
Pitchers: The pride of Georgia State University, David Buchanan, will take the ball in game one of the series. The right-hander made his Triple-A on 8/4, tossing seven innings, scattering six hits, allowing two runs and striking out four en route to his first career Triple-A victory. The Atlanta, GA native will have a large crowd in attendance, as he pitches in his home state for the first time in his career since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Brundy’s Back: Dave Brundage returns to Coolray Field for the first time since taking the managerial job with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He was the first manager in G-Braves history.
Fri, July 26: RHP David Hale (4-5, 3.03) vs. RHP Zach Stewart (5-10, 4.91)
Sat, July 27: RHP Omar Poveda (5-6, 3.30) vs. LHP Charlie Leesman (2-1, 3.62)
Sun, July 28: RHP Joe Bisenius (3-3, 5.83) vs. TBA
Mon, July 29: TBA vs. RHP Jason Berken (8-9, 3.85)
Gwinnett dropped their last two at Durham, losing the road-home series three games to one. Charlotte is on a roll of late, winning their last three games and taking sole possession of third place in the South Division.
Batters: Since rejoining the G-Braves, Tyler Pastornicky has hit in four straight games. In his last four games, he is hitting .462 (6-for-13) with one run scored and two RBI. On the season, he is batting .317 (78-for-246) with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 27 RBI for Gwinnett… Todd Cunningham returned from a minor hip flexor strain on fire. In three games, he is hitting .455 (5-for-11) with a double and three runs scored. He has been a sparkplug, taking over the leadoff spot since returning to the lineup. In 20 games as the leadoff hitter, he is batting .280 (21-for-75) with two doubles, one triple and two RBI.
Pitchers: David Hale will get the ball in the opener. In his last seven starts, he is 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA (5 ER/40.1 IP) and a 1.16 WHIP. Hale won his first career Triple-A contest against the Charlotte Knights on 4/6, tossing five innings of two-run ball. Omar Poveda continues to have solid starts for the G-Braves. In his last contest, he went six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs in a 2-1 loss to Indianapolis. Poveda leads the squad with 13 quality starts.
Batters: Charlotte has had a rough time against the G-Braves, posting a .251 (98-for-390) batting average, while striking out 105 times… Steve Tolleson leads the team in hitting, batting .292 (83-for-284) with six homers and 43 RBI. However, the infielder has struggled against the G-Braves, posting a .238 (10-for-42) batting average… Mike McDade fared well against the Braves in their two game series three weeks ago. In two games, he went 3-for-7 with two walks. On the season, he is hitting .257 (82-for-319) with eight homers and 42 RBI.
Pitchers: Zach Stewart is having a tough season. Originally the opening day starter for the Knights, the right-handed hurler has posted a 5-10 record with a 4.91 ERA. The long ball has been one of his problems, as he has issued 13 in 20 starts… Charlie Leesman suffered a huge setback last season, tearing his ACL in an International League playoff game; however, he has come back strong in 2013. In 11 starts for the Knights, he is 2-1 with 3.62 ERA. He has struck out 54 in 59.2 innings, while walking 25 batters. Last season he was 12-10 with a 2.45 ERA.
Knight Tales: Charlotte enters play 7.5 games back of the Wild card spot. They will need a big weekend against the G-Braves, as they have lost eight of 12 against Gwinnett.
Last night, Alex Wood made his Triple-A debut. His first start for the G-Braves was impressive, hurling five innings, scattering three hits, allowing one run and striking out five. He had control problems, issuing two walks, plunking two batters and tossing three wild pitches, but was able to limit the damage to pick up his first career Triple-A victory.
After an impressive start with the Double-A Mississippi Braves, Wood skipped right over Gwinnett. He made 16 appearances (one start), tossing 22 innings, while allowing six runs on 16 hits for the Atlanta Braves. He pitched well for the big club, but the Braves want him to get more work as a starter and sent him down to Gwinnett.
Wood took his demotion in stride, winning his first start for the G-Braves and becoming one of six players to make their big league debut before playing in a Triple-A game with Gwinnett. The other five players include catchers Evan Gattis and Brian McCann, outfielder Jordan Schafer, and pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Cristhian Martinez. Gattis and McCann both played their first Triple-A games in rehab assignments, while the otehrs made brief stops in Gwinnett before returning to the big leagues.
On the Bump: Speaking of the Major Leagues, Brandon Beachy will make another rehab start for the Gwinnett Braves tonight at 7:05 PM. In his last start, the right-hander went four innings, allowing one run on four hits as he took the loss against the Durham Bulls. In five rehab starts for the G-Braves, Beachy is 0-3 with a 3.79 ERA.
Indians Starter: Stolmy Pimentel will face Beachy. The 6-foot, 3-inch hurler is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts for the Indians. He was dominant in his last start, pitching eight innings of scoreless ball. He allowed two hits, while striking out five at Louisville.
Scouting Report: Pimentel features four pitches: four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, 12-6 bender and a changeup. His fastball sits in the low-90’s and has the ability to hit the high-90’s, while his curveball has a high-arc and great bend, sitting in the 70’s. He has not found great success with his changeup, as he continues to work through and learn the pitch, but it can be deceptive at 10-15mph lower than his fastball speed… Beachy also throws four pitches. He throws a low-90’s fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. His slider is his primary out pitch, but works off his fastball as he throws it over 60% of the time.
Often times, in a game that involves so much turnover, it’s common to see former teammates square off. On Tuesday night at 6:05 PM at Coolray Field, Atlanta Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy will make his fourth rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves against former Brave and now Norfolk Tides hurler, Jair Jurrjens. This will be the first time that both pitchers will meet in a head-to-head matchup.
In 2011, Jurrjens stared for the Atlanta Braves, posting a 12-3 record with a 1.87 ERA in the first half of the season. He led the league in wins and was second in ERA, as he headed to his first career All-Star game. His fast-paced start was eventually slowed by injuries, finishing the season 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA.
The right-hander ended the season, with a solid 13-6 record with a 2.96 ERA. However, is downward slide gave a pitcher like Beachy an opportunity to take his roster spot. While in 2011, both were rotation mates, it didn’t take long for Beachy to surpass Jurrjens on the Braves depth chart. In the second half of the 2011 campaign, the Kokomo, IN native went 4-2 with a 4.12 ERA, while striking out 91 in 74.1 innings.
Beachy carried over his success to the next season. In 13 games in 2012, he was tied for the Major League lead with a 1.98 ERA and led the Majors with a .171 opponent batting average prior to suffering a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on June 16.
In light of the injury, Jurrjens had an opportunity to regain his spot in the Atlanta Braves’ rotation, but he went 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA in his seven games after Beachy’s injury. Jurrjens would scuffle through Triple-A Gwinnett and Atlanta the rest of the way, going a combined 7-10 with a 5.74 ERA. At the end of the season, the Braves organization didn’t not pickup Jurrjens’ option and their once promising young star was let go.
While, Beachy is working his way through rehab, Jurrjens is trying to regain the form that earned him an All-Star Game invitation in 2011. In 15 starts with the Norfolk Tides, affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, he is 5-6 with 4.38 ERA. He has made two MLB starts, but was roughed up to the tune of an 0-0 record with a 4.91 ERA.
Mon, July 8: RHP Joe Bisenius (2-1, 5.87) vs. LHP Jake Pettit (3-1, 2.37)
Tue, July 9: TBA vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (5-6, 4.38)
Wed, July 10: RHP Cody Martin (2-1, 1.38) vs. TBA
Thu, July 11: RHP Kameron Loe (3-2, 2.97) vs. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (2-4, 5.14)
The Gwinnett Braves are off to a slow start in their current homestand, dropping three of their first four games. Despite holding the No.1 offense in the International League, the Durham Bulls, to one run during their two-game series, the G-Braves only came away with one victory.
Batters: With Ernesto Mejia sidelined with a sore hamstring, the G-Braves have had to rely on others to take care of the offensive load… However, the Braves have scored five runs in their last five games, while being shut out three times… Luis Nunez has been the best hitter during that span, hitting .267 (4-for-15) with one run… Sean Kazmar and Jose Yepez have driven in two apiece during that span…
Pitchers: After getting routed 13-0 on Wednesday night at Norfolk, the pitching staff has been sharp during their current homestand. They have allowed nine runs, eight earned in 36 innings, while scattering 31 hits… Kameron Loe is the only pitcher to collect a victory during this homestand. On 7/7, he tossed five innings of scoreless ball, scattering three hits and striking out two. His night was washed away, as a 51-minute rain delay impeded his chances from returning to the game… Mark Lamm made his Triple-A debut on Saturday, recording two innings of shutout ball and picking up a hold…
G-Bites: Since being optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, Cory Gearrin has not appeared in a game.
Norfolk Tides lead the Wild Card race, ahead of the streaking Rochester Red Wings (47-45), by 2.0 games and sit 7.5 games behind the front-running Durham Bulls (56-35) in the South Division.
Batters: Jason Pridie is having a great season, hitting .300 (91-for-303) with 21 doubles, three triples, 11 homers and 43 RBI. He has tormented G-Braves’ pitching, hitting .326 (14-for-43) with four doubles, one triple, one homer and nine RBI…L.J. Hoes has been even better, the fleet-footed outfielder is batting .353 (12-for-34) with one double, one homer and six RBI against Gwinnett in 2013.
Pitchers: Triple-A All Star and former G-Brave, Jairo Asencio is having a fantastic season in 2013. In 33 games, he is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA, converting 19 of 24 save opportunities. In five games against the G-Braves this season, he is 0-0 with four saves, while striking out six and allowing one run… Game two will feature former G-Brave and Atlanta Braves hurler, Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens has made a few starts for the Baltimore Orioles, but has spent most of the season with the Tides. In 15 starts, he is 5-6 with a 4.38 ERA.
Off-Shore: The Tides have dominated the G-Braves in 2013, posting an 8-2 record against their South Division foes.
The Atlanta Braves have optioned right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin to Triple-A Gwinnett, effective Friday, July 5. Right-hander Luis Ayala will take his place on the 25-man Major League roster as he has completed his rehab stint with Gwinnett. To make room for Gearrin on the G-Braves’ roster, the Braves have announced that left-hander Cole McCurry has been released.
The 27-year old Gearrin had been with the Atlanta Braves the entire season prior to being optioned to Gwinnett on Friday. In 37 appearances with the Braves, the right-hander was 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA (13 ER in 31.0 IP). He recorded his first career Major League save on May 20 vs. Minnesota. Despite strong outings early in the year, Gearrin had appeared in just seven games since the end of May, going 0-0 with a 12.00 ERA (8 ER in 6.0 IP) in that span.
The Chattanooga, TN native will return to Gwinnett for his fourth career stint with the club. From 2010 through 2012, Gearrin was one of the top workhorses out of the G-Braves’ bullpen. He appeared in 126 games, posting a 10-9 record with a 2.63 ERA (54 ER in 185.0 IP) and 13 saves in 16 chances. Gearrin was named to the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game after going 3-1 with a 1.25 ERA and seven saves in 28 games prior to the break. Following the season, he was named Gwinnett’s Pitcher of the Year by the Atlanta Braves.
Gearrin is in his seventh professional season with the Atlanta Braves organization. He was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 First Year Player Draft out Mercer University (Macon, GA).
Replacing Gearrin on Atlanta’s 25-man roster will be Ayala, who will return to the Major Leagues for the second time this year. The right-hander had been on the Braves’ disabled list since April 30 with anxiety disorder and had made 11 minor league rehab appearances between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. With Gwinnett, he went 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA (6 ER in 8.1 IP) in eight outings. Before being placed on the disabled list, Ayala was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five games with Atlanta.
McCurry went 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA (21 ER in 33.0 IP) and two saves in 20 relief appearances with Gwinnett this season. He also pitched with Double-A Mississippi, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA (3 ER in 8.0 IP) in four games, one start.
The Gwinnett Braves return to action on Friday night at 7:05 PM against the Charlotte Knights. Right-hander
Cody Martin (2-0, 1.29) will start for the G-Braves, while right-hander Jason Berken (6-8, 3.95) will counter for the Knights.
Thu: RHP Omar Poveda (5-5, 3.42) vs LHP Charlie Leesman (1-1, 3.55)
Fri: RHP Cody Martin (2-0, 1.29) vs. RHP Jason Berken (6-8, 3.95)
The Gwinnett Braves finished their mini-road trip, dropping three of four to the Norfolk Tides (46-40). With the losses, the Braves have fallen 9.5 back in the Wild Card standings and to fourth place in the South division.
Batters- The recent promotion of Joey Terdoslavich (.318/18 HR/ 58 RBI) leaves a big void in the middle of the lineup. .. Ernesto Mejia will carry the load. The first baseman was recently named to his second consecutive Triple-A All Star game. On the season, he is hitting .249 (73-for-293) with 21 homers and 62 RBI. He leads the squad in both categories, while coming in second in the International League in both home runs and RBI… Brandon Boggs has cooled off of late, but the switch hitter has been solid since joining the G-Braves. In 47 games, he is batting .277 (43-for-155) with five dingers and 17 RBI.
Pitchers- The Braves will throw two of their best this weekend against the Knights. In game one, Omar Poveda will take the ball looking for his team-leading sixth win of the season. The right hander is 5-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 16 starts for the G-Braves… Cody Martin will take the ball in game two for the Braves. Since being called up from Double-A Mississippi three weeks ago, the righty is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA, delivering three quality starts for Gwinnett.
The Knights have rebounded from a poor 7-21 start and are now third in the South Division and only 8.5 games back of the Wild Card leading Tides. However, they have not fared well against the Braves, posting a 2-8 mark against Gwinnett.
Batters- Recently named Triple-A All-Star Josh Phegley leads the Knight attack. The backstop is hitting .316 (73-for-231) with 18 doubles, 15 homers and 41 RBI. He has been just as good against the Braves in 2013, hitting .345 (10-for-29) with two doubles, two homers and three RBI in eight games… Blake Tekotte is swinging a hot bat of late. In his last 10 games, he is batting .389 (14-for-36) with one homer and seven RBI.
Pitchers- Charlie Leesman would have been a late September call up last season, but a knee injury in the IL Playoffs sidelined the southpaw. He missed part of this season, but has been great since returning. In seven starts, he is 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA. He features four quality pitches, relying on his fastball and changeup… Game two starter Jason Berken will try to reverse his luck against the G-Braves. In his lone start against Gwinnett, he was roughed up for six runs on ten hits in 4.1 innings. On the season, he is 6-8 with a 3.95 ERA in 16 starts for the Knights.
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – In an announcement made today by the International League, Gwinnett Braves’ first baseman Ernesto Mejia and outfielder Joey Terdoslavich have been selected to participate in the 26th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game, set to take place on Wednesday, July 17 in Reno, NV. Mejia is honored for the second-straight season as an IL All-Star, while Terdoslavich will participate in the Triple-A All-Star Game for the first time.
Both players will represent the IL as they face off against the Pacific Coast League at Aces Ballpark in Reno, NV. The game will air live on MLB Network, the American Forces Network and the Triple-A All-Star Game Radio Network beginning at 9:00 PM ET.
Mejia, 27, is one of 17 players selected by the IL office to the game. He makes the trip to the Triple-A All-Star Game for the second straight year, this time as a reserve. In his first Triple-A campaign last season, the slugging first baseman started the All-Star Game in Buffalo, NY and went 0-for-3 at the plate. As of July 3, the right-handed hitter is batting .249 (73-for-293) with a team-high 21 home runs and 62 RBI. Mejia currently ranks among IL leaders in home runs (2nd, 21), RBI (2nd, 62), extra-base hits (T-2nd, 41), total bases (4th, 157) and slugging percentage (6th, .536).
Terdoslavich, 24, will start the All-Star Game as one of the 13 players elected by a combined vote of fans, IL field managers, general managers and members of the media. The switch-hitting outfielder is in the midst of an impressive sophomore season in the IL, ranking fifth in the league in hitting with a .322 batting average as of July 3. The Sarasota, FL native also ranks among IL leaders in hits (1st, 102), total bases (1st, 182), extra-base hits (1st, 43), slugging percentage (3rd, .574), RBI (4th, 58), OPS (4th, .937), doubles (T-4th, 24), home runs (T-4th, 18) and runs scored (T-6th, 48). Terdoslavich was also named to the 2013 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game by Major League Baseball on June 26.
Mejia, Terdoslavich and the rest of the Gwinnett Braves are currently on the road as they finish a five-game series with the Norfolk Tides on Wednesday night at Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA. Right-hander Joe Bisenius (2-0, 3.09) will start for the G-Braves, while left-hander Jake Pettit (2-1, 3.75) counters for the Tides. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM. Tony Schiavone will have the call on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM.
LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – On a night when Joey Terdoslavich was announced to the 15th Annual SiriusXM Futures Game, Buffalo outfielder Kevin Pillar stole the show, going 4-for-5 with four doubles and two runs scored to lead the Bisons (40-38) to a 4-3 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (35-46) on Wednesday night.
The G-Braves got off to a great start, taking advantage of three errors and coming up with clutch hits to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Todd Cunningham singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Phil Gosselin and scored on a grounder by Terdoslavich for the game’s first run. Terdoslavich reached on an error by first baseman Luis Jimenez and Ernesto Mejia reached on an error by third baseman Mauro Gomez, putting runners on first and second with one out. Stefan Gartrell and Joe Leonard each picked up RBI singles to make it 3-0.
Jimenez cut into the lead with a solo homer in the top of the fourth. His 14th home run of the season snapped a 13.1-inning scoreless streak by Gwinnett starting pitcher David Hale.
In the fifth, the Bisons would tie up. Sean Ochinko drew a one out walk and advanced to third on a double by Pillar. They both came around to score on a two-run double by Ryan Goins, making it 3-3. Goins attempted to stretch the double into a triple, but was thrown out at third as Terdoslavich recorded his team-leading eighth outfield assist.
Hale exited after 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out six. After turning in his third quality start of the season, he turned a tie game over to the bullpen.
However, the bullpen had some trouble in the eighth, as the Bisons took the lead in the top of the frame. Pillar connected for his fourth double of the game to lead off the inning, becoming the first Buffalo player in the modern era to record four doubles in a game. He would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch by Wirfin Obispo (L, 1-3). The right-hander’s errant pitch snapped a 14-outing, 17.2-inning scoreless streak, the longest by a Gwinnett pitcher this season.
Thad Weber (W, 3-1) was impressive for the Bisons in the victory. After allowing the three runs in the first inning, he went on to face the minimum in his last six innings of baseball, allowing one hit and striking out three in the process. He went 7.0 innings with three runs, one earned on four hits. Joel Carreno (H, 3) and Brad Lincoln finished off the G-Braves, tossing two scoreless innings to end the game. Lincoln (S, 3) picked up the save, stranding a pair of baserunners in the ninth.
The Gwinnett offense was held to five singles on the night. Terdoslavich, Cunningham, Gartrell, Leonard and Sean Kazmar each had one hit.
Pillar led the Buffalo offense with his four hits. In two games against the G-Braves, he is 5-for-9 with five doubles.
The Gwinnett Braves continue their four game series with the Buffalo Bisons on Thursday night at 6:05 PM. G-Braves right-hander Joe Bisenius (1-0, 4.76) will face off against Bisons right-hander Chad Jenkins (0-3, 11.37). Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. First pitch is 6:05 PM.
Thursday is another “$3 Thursday” at Coolray Field. Enjoy $3 food and beverage specials all game long. All Lawn Seats are also just $3. To purchase tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com.