BB problems: Braves batters walked just 3 times in this 3-game series with the Marlins, 2 in game-one before going 17 walkless innings when Freeman walked in the 9th last night. Meanwhile, Braves pitchers walked 12 batters, with 3 of them coming around to score, 2 of those preceded home runs. The winning run last night was the result of two walks from Kimbrel.
Not in Gearrin: After the game the Braves announced that reliever Cory Gearrin had been sent down to triple-A. No corresponding move was announced, but this probably means Luis Ayala is rejoining the team from his extended stay on the disabled list with various issues. Since the beginning of June, Gearrin’s ERA is 12.00, but much of that might have to do with a lack of use. After appearing in 14 games in April (1.46 ERA, 3.55 FIP) and 16 games in May (2.13 ERA, 3.54 FIP), he has appeared in only 7 games since then… with obviously poor results. But is that a consequence of a lack of use? Whey did Fredi stop using him all of a sudden, including stretches where he sat for up to a week?
Poor inheritance: Gearrin had inherited 28 runners on base as a reliever, allowing 7 to score. While the rest of the current bullpen has combined to only allow 8 inherited runners to score, Gearrin has inherited far more runners on base than any other reliever: Avilan is next at 19 allowed / 3 scored, Varvaro 11/1, Walden 10/1, Carpenter 9/2, Kimbrel 1/1, Wood 0. It’s a weird use of relievers, and maybe an indictment of the way Fredi Gonzalez uses his bullpen, that the reliever brought in the most with runners on base seems to be the reliever that he is now reluctant to use, and the first to demote — especially when Alex Wood hasn’t even been tested in a situation where he is brought into a game with runners on base.
Minor movement: With Joey Terdoslavich getting the call to the big leagues, RH reliever Mark Lamm was promoted to Gwinnett. He has had a great season: 2.47ERA, .233BAA, 10 saves, and I’m excited to see how he performs in triple-A. RHP Carlos Perez was activated from the Rome disabled list. The organization released three players: RH reliever Billy Bullock, 1B Chris Garcia, and RHP Bryam Garcia. Bullock served a 50 game suspension to start the year for violating MiLB’s drug policy. He had some promise a couple of years ago when he was acquired in a trade for Scott Diamond with the Twins (a Rule 5 trade), but he was never able to harness his control. Chris Garcia hasn’t played all season (for some unknown reason).
Gwinnett All-Stars: First baseman Ernesto Mejia and outfielder Joey Terdoslavich were named to the International League All-Star team. Since Terdo was just promoted to the Majors, he will likely be replaced. He was also named to the MLB All-Star Future Team, but he’ll probably be just fine missing that too, and instead spending that time in the Majors.
Gwinnett lost. The G-Braves bullpen couldn’t hold the lead after a rain delay. Aside from a few pitchers, there is no one left on this Gwinnett team to really talk about. It’s a collection of minor league journeymen who are not prospects and don’t excite.
Sip All-Stars: Six Mississippi Braves players were named to the Southern League All-Star team, including catcher Christian Bethancourt, outfielder Jose Martinez, infielder Jaime Pedroza, third baseman Edward Salcedo, starting pitcher Gus Schlosser, and reliever Mark Lamm (who was just promoted to AAA, so he’ll likely be replaced).
M-Braves break losing streak: Mississippi won. Starter Mitch Atkins scattered 7 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings, and reliever Pat Egan threw 2 scoreless innings as they combined for a 1-0 shutout. Mississippi scored their lone run in the top of the ninth without the benefit of a hit: Mycal Jones reached base on an error, was bunted to second, a passed ball moved him to third, and a Christian Bethancourt sac fly drove him in. The win breaks a six-game losing streak.
Still bare-knuckle boxing: Hillcats lost. Cats lefty knuckleballer Blaine Sims is still fighting with the knuckle ball and trying to figure it out. Be patient, it’s a work in progress. His line last night: 5IP, 9H, 7ER, 6R, 1BB, 5SO, 1HR. He figured out the walks, but is still getting bitten by the big home run. I will have an extensive interview with him posted on the site this coming Monday — you won’t want to miss it.