Results tagged ‘ Toronto Blue Jays ’

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (59-52) vs. Buffalo Bisons (58-54)

Pitching probables

Fri: LHP Greg Smith (4-4, 2.34 ERA) vs. RHP Phillippe Aumont (3-4, 2.54 ERA), 7:05 p.m.

Sat: RHP Victor Mateo (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. LHP Jeff Francis (5-0, 1.41 ERA), 7:05 p.m.

Sun: RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (3-3, 3.92 ERA) vs. RHP Scott Copeland (8-3, 2.11 ERA), 2:05 p.m.

Victor Mateo (Jim Lacey)

Victor Mateo (Jim Lacey)

The Gwinnett Braves begin a three-game series against the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, off of their best stretch of the season. The G-Braves had their season-high, six-game winning streak snapped in a 7-5 loss on Thursday to the Rochester Red Wings. Still, they have won 11 of their last 13 games to move from last place to second in the International League South Division and put them in the runner-up spot in the IL Wild Card race, 2.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers.

Buffalo entered the All-Star break on July 13 one game below the .500 mark at 45-46, but the Bisons won eight of their first 11 games after the break and have climbed into second place in the IL North, 3.5 games behind the division-leading Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Buffalo is also in fourth place in the Wild Card standings and 1.5 games behind the G-Braves. Gwinnett swept a three-game road series from the Bisons in  the team’s first meeting this season from June 29 through July 1. The G-Braves have won the season series between the clubs in each of the past two seasons, going 11-4, overall, and 5-3 at Coolray Field during that stretch. This will be the final regular-season series the teams will play against one another this season.

Pitching: Two of the top pitching staffs in the IL will face off this weekend at Coolray Field. The Bisons boast a 3.07 team ERA that ranks second in the league behind only the Norfolk Tides, and the G-Braves follow in third with a 3.11 ERA. Both staffs go about their work in much the same way. Buffalo has a 2.29 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (804 strikeouts/352 walks), while Gwinnett has a 2.14 mark (784 strikeouts/366 walks). G-Braves’ pitchers have given up five more home runs than Buffalo, but their 54 homers allowed still are the fourth-fewest in the league. August has been particularly good for Gwinnett hurlers, as they have combined for a 2.17 ERA through the first six games of the month, which is the second-lowest in the league, to help the team to a 5-1 record in that span. In five games during which the team is 2-3, Buffalo has a 4.50 ERA.

The Buffalo rotation is led by the current IL ERA leader in Copeland, who is scheduled to pitch the series finale. He has won three of his last four starts and has not allowed more than one earned run in that span. He has given up more than two earned runs in two of his 15 appearances (14 starts) for the Bisons this season. He made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays in May and has made five appearances (three starts) for Toronto, going 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA.

Gwinnett pitchers held opponents to three runs or fewer in 10 of the 13 games during their hot streak despite five strikeouts or fewer in nine of those contests. The G-Braves also got seven quality starts from its starting rotation in that time span, and right-hander Peter Moylan has become a stopper at the end of games. He has gone 4-for-4 in save opportunities across his last six appearances and has not allowed a run in his last eight while he gave up three combined hits in that span. Overall, Moylan is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA (9 ER in 25.0 IP) with four saves in 24 outings since he joined the team on June 2.

Hitting: Outfielder Todd Cunningham and catcher Christian Bethancourt have caught fire of late. They have combined to hit at a .411 rate (.476 for Cunningham, .371 for Bethancourt) in the team’s last 10 games. Cunningham has driven in five runs and scored four during that span, while Bethancourt has a home run, seven RBIs and a seven runs scored. The team batting average has risen to .256 for the season, which ranks eighth in the IL. Buffalo has a .262 team batting average that is tied with Norfolk for the second-highest in the league. The Bisons do not hit for much power, however. Their 49 home runs are the third-fewest in the league, although Gwinnett’s 38 are the fewest in the league, overall. The G-Braves hold a distinct advantage on the bases with their 126 stolen bases that are the second-most in the IL. Buffalo baserunners have swiped 61 bags, which ranks 11th in the league.

Along with Copeland atop the IL pitching ranks, Buffalo also has the league’s top hitter with Matt Hague. The first baseman/third baseman leads the league in batting average (.342), hits (145), RBIs (79), total bases (202), on-base percentage (.424) and is tied for the league lead in walks (54). He also ranks second in slugging percentage (.476) and third in doubles (28). Hague played 33 games in the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates combined in 2012 and 2014, hitting a combined .222 with no home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs. He combined to hit .282 with 23 doubles, 15 homers, 76 RBIs and 60 runs scored in 106 games between the Indianapolis Indians and Buffalo in 2014, including a .377 batting average in 13 games for the Bisons.

G-Bites: The G-Braves lost utilityman Joey Terdoslavich and right-handed reliever Ryan Kelly to Major League promotions on Tuesday with the Atlanta Braves. They are both on their fourth stints with Atlanta this season…Kelly’s move opened a roster spot for right-hander Jason Hursh to make his Triple-A debut on Thursday with the G-Braves. The Braves’ first-round pick (31st overall) in 2013 threw a perfect ninth inning in his first appearance on Thursday. He began the season as a starter for Double-A Mississippi and made 15 starts, going 2-6 with a 5.63 ERA. He moved to the bullpen on 7/10 and went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in nine relief outings for the M-Braves before his promotion…The G-Braves will embark on their longest remaining road trip after the Buffalo series. They will travel to three cities in nine days for four games against the Charlotte Knights, three vs. Columbus and two against the Toledo Mud Hens…After their final day off of the regular season on August 19, the team will come back to Coolray Field for a four-game series against the Louisville Bats.

-JM

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (51-50) vs. Durham Bulls (51-51)

Pitching probables (All games start at 6:35 p.m.)

Mon: RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. RHP Bradin Hagens (1-1, 3.38 ERA).

Tues: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-6, 3.49 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Andriese (2-1, 1.84 ERA).

Wed: RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (3-2, 3.61 ERA) vs. LHP Blake Snell (0-1, 2.25 ERA).

Tyrell Jenkins (Taylor Botta)

Tyrell Jenkins (Taylor Botta)

The Gwinnett Braves worked their way out of the cellar in the International League South Division on Sunday when they beat the Charlotte Knights 5-3 and the Durham Bulls lost 11-1 to the Norfolk Tides. That dropped the Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, a half-game behind the G-Braves for last place in the division. Gwinnett has won five of the last seven meetings between the clubs this season and leads the season series 7-6. This is the Bulls’ final visit to Coolray Field this season. After an off day on Thursday, the teams will play three more games at Durham from Friday through Sunday, and they have a two-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park scheduled for August 21 and September 1. The G-Braves have not taken a season series from the Bulls since they went 11-10 in 2012.

The G-Braves ran their post-All-Star break record to 6-5 with the sweep of Charlotte. Durham, meanwhile, has yet to win consecutive games in the second half and gone 4-7 in that span. The Bulls have the lowest team batting average (.229) and second-highest team ERA (4.64) in the IL for July, but they have slugged 27 home runs through 23 games during the month, which trails only Charlotte’s 33 in that category. Gwinnett’s 11 homers in the July are the second-fewest, ahead of only the nine hit by the Indianapolis Indians. The G-Braves’ .244 batting average for July ranks 11th in the league, but they have managed a 12-12 record since July 1 with the help of a 3.49 team ERA that is the fifth-lowest in the 14-team league.

Pitching: A weekend series vs. Charlotte in which the G-Braves did not allow more than three runs in any of the three victories helped lower the club’s ERA to 3.18 for the season, which is the fourth-lowest of any team in the league. Knights’ outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo hit two home runs on Friday, but those were the only long balls Gwinnett pitchers allowed, and the 51 the G-Braves’ pitching staff has combined to give up are tied for the fourth-fewest in the IL. Durham has the third-highest team ERA in the league at 3.97 and its pitchers have given up the most home runs in the IL with 86. The Bulls have struck out the second-most batters in the league with 761 K’s and issued the second-fewest walks (289), and their relievers have combined for 34 saves, which is tied for the league lead in that department. G-Braves’ hurlers have the fifth-most strikeouts with 723 and the fifth-most walks with 335, while the bullpen has 30 saves to tie for fourth in that category.

Foltynewicz has given up seven of the G-Braves’ home runs allowed total this season and is in his third stint with Gwinnett after two promotions to the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves. He worked as a starter in Atlanta from May 1 to June 14, going 3-2 with a 5.19 ERA in nine starts, and pitched three times out of the bullpen from July 7-11, going 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA. Four of his 10 starts for the G-Braves have been quality starts, but the team is 3-7 in those games in part because the offense has provided him the fewest runs of support of any pitcher currently in the starting rotation (14 total, 1.40 per game).

Hagens has made four starts (five appearances) for the Bulls this season after he began the year at Double-A Montgomery, where he posted a 4-5 record and 3.86 ERA in 16 outings (eight starts). He stuck out nine Charlotte batters in his most recent start on July 22 and has a 3.75 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (30 strikeouts/8 walks) since his move to the Triple-A level. Andriese has split the season between Durham and Tampa Bay. He has gone 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA and two saves in 12 outings (seven starts) for the Rays in his Major League rookie campaign. He was optioned to Durham most recently on July 8.

Hitting: Barrett Kleinknecht hit his fourth home run of the season with a solo shot in the seventh inning on Sunday, but the G-Braves still sit at the bottom of the IL in that department with 32 homers and trail the next closest team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, by 10.  They are on pace 46 home runs for the season, which would be the fewest in franchise history and the fewest in the league since the Tidewater Tides hit 43 in 1980. The lowest season home run totals for Richmond/Gwinnett teams is 68 set in 2001 and tied in 2006. However, the G-Braves have used their team speed to steal 114 bases and tie Indianapolis for the lead in that category. That puts Gwinnett on pace for 163 on the season but still well behind the franchise record of 195 set in 1986.

Durham is third in the league with 100 stolen haves but is also second in the IL with 90 home runs despite a team batting average of .244 that is tied for the second-lowest in the league. First baseman J. P. Arencibia has helped the team home run total with a league-high 20. The Bulls do not lay down many sacrifice bunts (14, second-fewest in the IL compared to Gwinnett’s second-highest total of 52), but they draw the third-most walks of any team in the league with 359. The G-Braves have a league-low 241 walks but also the fewest strikeouts with 503. Durham has whiffed a league-leading 863 times.

Jose Peraza’s team-high 13-game hitting streak came to an end when he went 0-for-4 on Sunday, but he is still tied for second in the league in hits with 110. He is also tied for the league-lead in sacrifice bunts (12) and sacrifice flies (seven) to go with the fourth-highest strikeouts-per-plate-appearance ratio of 12.18. Durham outfielder Taylor Motter won the IL Player of the Week award for June 29 to July 6 and has a .303 batting average for the season that ranks seventh in the league among qualified hitters. His 104 hits on the season are the fifth-most in the IL, and he leads the league in extra-base hits with 42.

G-Bites: Infielders Daniel Castro and Adonis Garcia got recalled by Atlanta on Friday. They both left the Gwinnett game in the second inning to join the Braves in St. Louis. Garcia hit his first career Major League home run in the sixth inning on Sunday, a solo shot that provided the deciding run in their 3-2 win over the Cardinals…Atlanta optioned first baseman Joey Terdoslavich on Friday to make room for first baseman Freddie Freeman’s return from the disabled list…Outfielder Cedric Hunter went 5-for-9 two RBIs and four runs scored in the series vs. Charlotte. He has batted .292 with 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored in 22 games in July to raise his season batting average to .272…With a 6.0-inning start on Saturday during which he allowed two runs (one earned), right-hander Kanekoa Texeira completed his fourth consecutive quality start, which is the longest such streak for a G-Braves’ pitcher this season…After the upcoming weekend series at Durham, the G-Braves will return to Coolray Field for a seven-game homestand from August 3-9 that includes four games against the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and three vs. the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

-JM

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (48-50) vs. Charlotte Knights (57-43)

Pitching probables

Fri: TBA vs. TBA, 7:05 p.m.

Sat: RHP Kanekoa Texeira (1-3, 3.64 ERA) vs. RHP Erik Johnson (8-5, 2.59 ERA), 7:05 p.m.

Sun: RHP Williams Perez (2-1, 1.36 ERA) vs. RHP Brad Penny (5-3, 4.09 ERA), 2:05 p.m.

Williams Perez (Taylor Botta)

Williams Perez (Taylor Botta)

The Gwinnett Braves welcome the Charlotte Knights, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, to Coolray Field for the final time this season still in search of their first victory over Charlotte on their home field. The Knights have won each of the first five games the teams have played in Gwinnett and have outscored the G-Braves 24-15 in those contests, although only one of the games was decided by more than a two-run margin. The G-Braves have gone 2-3 against the Knights in Charlotte, including two wins in a three-game series at BB&T Ballpark from July 2-3 that preceded a six-game losing streak.

Gwinnett remains last in the four-team International League South Division, while the Knights sit in second place, 0.5 of a game behind the Norfolk Tides. The G-Braves face their largest deficit in the standings of the season, as they are 8.5 games behind the Tides and 8.0 games back of Charlotte for the Wild Card playoff spot. This is the first time the teams have not played a home-and-home series this season, as the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, will come in for a three-game series from July 27-29.

This will also be the first time Gwinnett has been home since the All-Star break. The G-Braves went 3-5 on a road trip that took them to Syracuse, where they lost three of four games to the Chiefs, and Rochester in a four-game series they split with the IL North-leading Red Wings. Charlotte has won five of its eight games since the break and eight of their last 11, overall, to put them a season-high 14 games above the .500 mark.

Pitching: The G-Braves’ pitching staff has allowed five or more runs four times in its last 15 games and has the fourth-lowest team ERA in the IL at 3.21. The 49 home runs G-Braves’ pitchers have allowed are also tied for the fourth-fewest in the league. Charlotte has a team ERA of 3.53 that ranks seventh in the league and the 70 home runs it has allowed are the fourth-most in the IL. However, the Knights hold an advantage in strikeout-to-walk ratio. They are tied for the third-fewest walks issued with 295 and lead the league with 789 strikeouts, which are 52 more than second-place Durham in that department. Gwinnett pitchers have walked the fourth-most batters in the league with 331 free passes, and their 704 strikeouts rank fifth.

Gwinnett has also used 14 different starting pitchers this season. Perez and right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (1-6, 3.49 ERA) are the only pitchers currently in the rotation that also began the season in Gwinnett, although Perez is on a Major League rehab assignment from the Atlanta Braves. He has made two rehab starts since the All-Star break and gone 0-1 with one run allowed in a combined 6.0 innings, including 10 strikeouts and one walk, in those appearances. Saturday’s starter, Texeira, notched his first victory of the season in his last start, his sixth of the season among 11 relief appearances, on Monday, July 20 when he held the Red Wings to three runs on two hits and three walks with two strikeouts in a 6-3 victory.

For Charlotte, Johnson holds the third-lowest ERA in the league among qualified starters with his 2.59 mark. He trails only former Gwinnett left-handed starter Manny Banuelos, who was promoted to Atlanta on July 2, and his Charlotte teammate right-hander Kyle Drabek. Johnson leads the league in strikeouts with 105, but Charlotte left-hander Casey Jarrett holds the top spot on the club in wins with 9, which ties him for the league lead along with Durham lefty Scott Diamond. Johnson also holds the tops spot in the league with a 1.09 WHIP, while Drabek is tied for third with a 1.14 mark.

Hitting: Charlotte holds the fourth-highest team batting average at .260, while the G-Braves come in 10th with a .252 mark. Both teams have plenty of speed, as Gwinnett is second in the league with 107, one more than the Knights, but Charlotte has much more power in its lineup. The Knights have slugged a league-best 94 home runs, and the G-Braves have managed an IL-low 31. That puts Gwinnett on pace for 46 on the season, which would be the lowest of any IL team since the Tidewater Tides, who were a New York Mets’ affiliate at the time, hit 43 in 1980.

The G-Braves also have the fewest walks and strikeouts of any team in the league. They would be the first club since the 2012 Lehigh Valley IronPigs to finish at the bottom of both categories in the same season. Additionally, their league-low .304 on-base percentage would be the lowest in the IL since the Syracuse Chiefs, who were an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time, had a .302 mark in 1988.

Individually, second baseman Jose Peraza, the top-ranked prospect in the Braves’ system, is second in the league with 107 hits and fourth with six triples. He enters the series on a season-high 11-game hitting streak during which he has batted .362 (17-for-47) with two doubles, a triple, three RBIs and seven runs scored. He is batting .292 (107-for-367) for the season with eight doubles, six triples, three home runs, 37 RBIs, 44 runs scored and 25 stolen bases, which ties him for fifth in the IL in that category.

Charlotte second baseman Micah Johnson holds the second-highest batting average among qualified batters in the IL with a .328 mark and has the fifth-highest on-base percentage at .379 to go with the third-highest slugging percentage at .486 in 60 games. Third baseman Matt Davidson is tied for fourth in the league with 15 home runs, outfielder Trayce Thompson has the the fourth-most doubles with 23 and fellow outfielder Jason Coats’ 61 RBIs rank third in the league.

G-Bites: Right-handed reliever Brandon Cunniff rejoined the G-Braves during their most recent road trip but is on the disabled list, and righty reliever David Carpenter is back with the club after his first stint of the season with Atlanta. The Gwinnett bullpen also got back right-hander Jake Brigham from a stint with Atlanta…Righty David Peterson received a promotion to Gwinnett from Double-A Mississippi on July 17 and has yet to allow a run in his first two relief outings while picking up his first Triple-A save in his first appearance on July 18 at Syracuse…Right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro also joined the team after Atlanta signed him as a minor-league free agent on July 10…Righty reliever Carlos Fisher threw 1.0 scoreless inning in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 15 in Omaha, NE…Outfielder Todd Cunningham broke free of a 1-for-13 skid to bat .500 (6-for-12) with a home run, three RBIs and four runs scored during the four-game set at Rochester.

-JM

Fred McGriff visits Gwinnett as part of new position with Braves

Former Atlanta Braves' first baseman Fred McGriff throws a ceremonial first pitch before the G-Braves' game on July 7 against the Norfolk Tides.

Former Atlanta Braves’ first baseman Fred McGriff throws a ceremonial first pitch before the G-Braves’ game on July 7 against the Norfolk Tides.

Former Atlanta Braves first baseman Fred McGriff stopped by Coolray Field for the first time during the Gwinnett Braves’ final homestand before the All-Star Break to offer his insights and knowledge to the next wave of potential Braves’ stars.

“We’ve got some good players here, some young, some a little older,” said McGriffl, who threw a ceremonial first pitch before the G-Braves’ game on July 7 against the Norfolk Tides. “It’s cool. You’ve got good coaches here.”

The man who held the first base position in Atlanta from 1993-97 returned to the organization this season as a special assistant to baseball operations. He attended Major League Spring Training and has focused on professional scouting during the season.

He said it was also his first chance to see and work with players such as center fielder Mallex Smith, second baseman Jose Peraza and right-handed starter Mike Foltynewicz, who has sinced been recalled to Atlanta for the second time this season.

“This is my first year with the Braves’ organization so I’m just trying to learn all of the different players,” he said.

So far, McGriff said he has been impressed with the number of highly talented players in the system, particularly on the pitching side of the game.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who throw real hard,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting the guys to get some experience, let them work their way through the minors and learn how to pitch so once they finally get up to the big leagues they can stay up in the big leagues.”

McGriff hit 493 home runs during his 19-year career in the Major Leagues that stretched from 1986-2004 with the Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In his new job, he said he was involved in the June free agent draft process after he spent early portions of the season scouting high school and college players, including a stop at the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, AL. He said he has also been introduced to the analytical side of the game.

“To see it from a scout’s standpoint and see what they do and everything, how they put in their scouting reports and their lingo, it’s a different lingo,” McGriff said.

He has combined those lessons with his experiences from more than two decades in the game to try to help the current generation of young players make the most of their opportunities in the sport.

“If I can help one guy, if I can say something to one kid that helps them get to the big leagues, then it’s all worth it,” McGriff said.

McGriff laughs with Atlanta Braves Senior Advisor to Player Development Lee Elia (left) and Gwinnett Braves hitting coach John Moses before the G-Braves' game on July 7 vs. the Norfolk Tides.

McGriff laughs with Atlanta Braves Senior Advisor to Player Development Lee Elia (left) and Gwinnett Braves hitting coach John Moses before the G-Braves’ game on July 7 vs. the Norfolk Tides.

-JM

Spring Training Weekend Wrap-Up 3.28-29.15

A potential Gwinnett Braves utilityman has been perhaps the hottest hitters for the Atlanta Braves in Spring Training camp for the past week, and he helped lead the Braves Saturday to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Pedro Ciriaco went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at three runs apiece while spending time defensively in center and left field during the contest in Dunedin, Fla. He has hit safely in six of his last seven games while batting .526 (10-for-19) with a pair of runs scored, a double, a triple, 10 RBI and a stolen base. Among qualifiers, Ciriaco leads the team with a .380 batting average (19-for-50) for the spring.

Utilityman Pedro Ciriaco's 19 hits during Atlanta Braves Spring Training camp are the second-most on the team. (Photo by Karl Moore)

Infielder/outfielder Pedro Ciriaco’s 19 hits during Atlanta Braves Spring Training camp are the second-most on the team. (Photo by Karl Moore)

The Braves dropped their second game of the weekend 4-2 Sunday to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Saturday against Toronto:

Sean Kazmar (3B), 1-for-2, R.

Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-2.

Joe Benson (LF-CF), 0-for-1, R, BB.

Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.

Cedric Hunter entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in left field but did not receive an at-bat.

A pair of possible G-Braves right-handed relievers also combined to throw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Brandon Cunniff (H, 2) breezed through the eighth inning with nothing more than a walk allowed. Juan Jaime (H, 4) retired one batter but also gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth.

The Braves played most of their expected starters at their home Spring Training complex against the Pirates. Right fielder Todd Cunningham and left fielder Benson were the only two players likely to man the outfield for Gwinnett to get an at-bat. Cunningham walked and scored in the eighth, and Benson flew out to center field in the following at-bat.

Right-handed pitcher Michael Kohn (L, 1-1) was the only possible G-Braves pitcher to take the mound against Pittsburgh. He pitched the ninth but gave up the deciding two runs on two hits, including a two-run homer by second baseman Jong Ho Kang, with one strikeout.

Atlanta reassigned Kohn to minor league camp Monday and optioned fellow right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino to Gwinnett. Those moves leave the Braves with 36 active players in Major League camp.

The Braves will travel to face the Detroit Tigers for the fifth and final time this spring at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Lakeland, Fla. The teams have split their first four meetings, two of which were split-squad contests for Atlanta.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.27.15

A pair of possible Gwinnett Braves infielders led the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2, seven-inning win Friday over the Boston Red Sox at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Shortstop Pedro Ciriaco drove in Atlanta’s first three runs with a two-out double in the second inning after he singled the previous inning as the Braves’ first hitter of a game shortened because of rain. Ciriaco finished the game 2-for-4 with a strikeout. He is hitting .370 (17-for-46) in Spring Training and is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 15.

Kelly Johnson, who is in competition for one of the final spots on the Braves’ Opening Day roster, tacked on Atlanta’s final run with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Johnson entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base in the top half of the inning and played the seventh at first base.

Meanwhile, Phil Gosselin, who led the 2014 G-Braves with a .344 batting average (130-for-378), went 2-for-3 with a run scored. He started the game in center field and moved to third base in the seventh.

Phil Gosselin, winner of the G-Braves' 2014 MVP Award, is competing to make his first MLB Opening Day roster with the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Phil Gosselin, winner of the G-Braves’ 2014 MVP Award, is competing to make his first MLB Opening Day roster with the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Potential G-Braves outfielders Mycal Jones and Jose Constanza came in as defensive replacements in the seventh inning at center field and left field, respectively. Neither received an at-bat.

The Braves used only two pitchers in the game. Possible G-Braves right-handed reliever John Cornely (S, 2) got the final out of the sixth inning and retired both batters he faced in the seventh before the umpires halted play because of rain.

Former G-Braves right-handed pitcher and Atlanta’s Opening Day starter Julio Teheran (W, 2-1) pitched the first 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. He also walked four batters and gave up five hits, including a two-run home run by center fielder Mookie Betts in the fourth inning.

Atlanta also announced Friday it has optioned left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos, right-handed pitcher Williams Perez and outfielder Eury Perez to Gwinnett to begin the season, which leaves the Braves with 40 active players in their Spring Training camp.

The Braves will travel to face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. Saturday in Dunedin, Fla., before they return to their home complex to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Champion Stadium. Atlanta lost to the Blue Jays 10-5 March 15 at Champion Stadium and beat the Pirates 7-5 Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.

-JM

Spring Training Weekend Wrap-up 3.14-15.15

Several players who could patrol the diamond at Coolray Field for the Gwinnett Braves in 2015 finished the weekend with standout performances at the plate, as the Atlanta Braves split a pair of games against the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros. They also made their two largest rounds of roster cuts.

The Braves chopped their Spring Training roster by 13 players with cuts made Saturday and Monday.

Top prospect Jose Peraza headlined the six players cut Monday. Atlanta optioned him to Gwinnett and sent right-handed pitcher Tyrell Jenkins to Double-A Mississippi. Right-hander Mauricio Cabrera and left-hander Yean Carlos Gil were optioned to Advanced-A Carolina. Left-handed pitcher Brady Feigl and catcher Jose Yepez were reassigned to Minor League camp.

The Braves reassigned seven players Saturday, including right-handed pitcher Jason Hursh, catchers Matt Kennelly and Chris O’Dowd, infielders Daniel Castro and Rio Ruiz, and outfielders Cedric Hunter and  Mallex Smith.

Potential G-Brave returnee Joey Terdoslavich, winner of the 2014 G-Braves’ “Fan Favorite Player” award, belted his first home run of the spring with a three-run shot in the seventh inning Sunday against the Blue Jays in a 10-5 loss at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He drove in possible G-Braves infielders Pedro Ciriaco and Peraza after Ciriaco led off the frame with a single and Peraza entered as a pinch runner for infielder Alberto Callaspo.

Terdoslavich struck out in his only other at-bat in the ninth inning. Ciriaco finished the game 2-for-5 with a strikeout, and Peraza grounded out to first base in the ninth inning for his only at-bat of the game. Center fielder Todd Cunningham went 2-for-4 with a run-scoring double in the sixth inning and threw out a runner at home plate to end the third.

Other potential G-Braves position players’ Sunday stats vs. Toronto:

Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-3.

Jesus Flores (C, pinch hit), 0-for-1.

John Buck (1B) 0-for-1.

Phil Gosselin (SS-LF), 0-for-1.

Right-hander Ryne Harper was the only pitcher the Braves’ threw against Toronto who projects to spend time in Gwinnett this season. He recorded the final two outs of the fourth inning despite throwing  a wild pitch and giving up two hits, including a two-run home run to outfielder Jose Bautista.

Atlanta topped the Astros 6-5 Saturday at Champion Stadium. Left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez (W, 2-0) picked up his second win of the spring by going four innings with two hits allowed, three walks and two strikeouts.

Other possible Gwinnett pitchers’ stats from Saturday:

RHP Chien-Ming Wang, 0.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, K.

RHP Justin Jackson (S, 1), 1.0 IP, H, ER.

Second baseman Jace Peterson led potential G-Braves hitters at the plate Saturday, going 1-for-1 with a walk and a run scored.

Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Saturday:

Gosselin (2B-SS), 0-for-2, R.

Cunningham (RF-LF), 0-for-2.

Terdoslavich (1B), 0-for-3, 2 K.

Kelly Johnson (3B), 0-for-4, 3 K.

Eury Perez (LF), 0-for-3, 2 K.

Yepez (DH), 0-for-3, K.

Peraza (2B), 0-for-1.

Flores (C, pinch hit), 0-for-1.

Atlanta travels to face the Astros for a 1:05 p.m. game Monday in Kissimmee, Fla.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.13.15

The Atlanta Braves started two pitchers Friday who are in contention for a spot in the starting rotation but could also be key members of the Gwinnett Braves’ rotation. Neither made it through their respective first innings, however, as Atlanta dropped a pair of split-squad games to the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets.

Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (L, 0-1) gave up five runs, although four were unearned, on three hits and two walks with one strikeout in 2/3 of an inning of a 12-2 loss to the Tigers at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Left-hander Manny Banuelos (L, 0-2) also allowed five runs (all earned) on three hits and two walks with a strikeout and two wild pitches against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. The Braves ultimately fell to New York 13-2.

One bright spot on the mound was the performance of right-handed starter Cody Martin, who won the 2014 G-Braves’ Most Outstanding Pitcher Award in 2014. Martin held Detroit scoreless through three innings of relief with one hit and one walk allowed, a hit batsman and three strikeouts.

Other possible G-Braves pitchers’ stats vs. Detroit:

RHP Todd Coffey, 0.1 IP, H, BB.

RHP Jose Veras, 1.0 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, HBP, WP.

RHP Aaron Kurcz, 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, K.

Potential Gwinnett pitchers’ lines against New York:

RHP Carlos Fisher, 1.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, BB, K.

RHP Williams Perez, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 K.

RHP Juan Jaime, 0.1 IP, ER, H, 4 BB, WP.

RHP Arodys Vizcaino, 1.1 IP, ER, H, BB, 3 K.

RHP Brandon Cunniff, 1.0 IP, K.

RHP Jake Brigham, 0.2 IP.

Offensively, potential G-Braves players scored three of the Braves’ four runs Friday combined between the two games. First baseman Joey Terdoslavich and catcher Braeden Schlehuber both entered the game against Detroit as pinch runners and came around to score. Designated hitter Matt Kennelly singled and scored Atlanta’s first run in the fifth inning vs. the Mets as part of his 1-for-3 day.

Potential G-Braves position players’ stats Friday vs. the Tigers:

Terdoslavich (1B), 0-for-1, R.

Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1, R.

Cedric Hunter (RF-CF), 1-for-3, RBI.

Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 0-for-3.

Mycal Jones (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-1, K.

Corban Joseph (3B), 0-for-1.

Barrett Kleinknecht (1B), 0-for-1.

Possible G-Braves position players’ stats Friday vs. the Mets:

Phil Gosselin (SS), 2-for-3, RBI, K.

Jace Peterson (2B), 1-for-3, K.

Todd Cunningham (RF), 0-for-3, K.

John Buck (C), 1-for-2, BB, K.

Eury Perez (LF), 1-for-3.

Jose Peraza (2B), 1-for-2.

Joe Benson (RF), 1-for-1.

Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-1.

Jose Yepez (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-1.

The Braves will remain at Champion Stadium for the weekend. They are scheduled to face the Houston Astros at 6:05 p.m. Saturday and the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

-JM

Julio Teheran Makes His 2012 Atlanta Braves Debut

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The G-Braves ace Julio Teheran was called-up by the Atlanta Braves to make a spot-start for Tim Hudson on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field against the Toronto Blue Jays.  The No. 2 overall prospect in minor league baseball opposed the Blue Jays southpaw ace Ricky Romero. Before the game, Chipper Jones was activated from the 15-day disabled list and Jose Constanza and J.C. Boscan were both optioned back to Triple-A Gwinnett.  

Teheran lasted just 4.1 innings on Sunday, as Toronto’s potent offense got to the stud right-hander in the fifth inning. The Braves starter hadn’t allowed a run in his first four innings of work as Teheran looked sharp and determined to prove a point. However, the wheels came off in the fifth inning with the Braves leading 4-0, as Toronto struck for six total runs in the inning. Teheran allowed four of the six runs to cross the plate in the frame.

The reigning Atlanta Braves 2011 Minor League Pitcher of the Year walked away with the no decision after 4.1 innings pitched. Teheran surrendered four earned runs on four hits and struck out five while he walked just one batter amidst the 74-pitch effort.

Thw 21-year-old has so much room to improve, so there shouldn’t be a feeling of wanting to rush this kid to the big leagues. Julio Teheran’s time is coming in the not-to-distant future, but for now, you can’t rush the growing process which is vital to the future success of his career. Stay tuned to The G-Blog in the coming days for news on Julio’s next start….

By: Tony Piraro

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