And then there were four: The Braves are falling down all over the place. Yesterday B.J. Upton was placed on the DL as Evan Gattis was activated from the DL, but Freddie Freeman had his hand in a cast and it was announced he would not play in the All-Star game because of the injury (Brian McCann was chosen in his place). The injury status of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, and Freeman will not be known until after the break, but we can only hope that the extra rest of four days off has come at a good time to allow them to recover. The replacement outfield returned to Earth yesterday, going 1-for-12.
Hey, crazy: If you had told me at the beginning of the year that the guy leading the team in home runs would only be hitting .200, and that half the team would be on the DL, and we would still be in first place by six games… I would have called you crazy. The Braves lead the NL in home runs and strikeouts, and are second in walks and third in runs scored. It certainly seems like the three-true-outcomes team that the Braves have assembled is working. It’s not all about the bats though, the Braves are second in the league in ERA. If you had told me that our pitching staff would be that good while losing our two best setup relievers… I would have called you crazy.
Beachy on his way back… again: Gwinnett lost. Brandon Beachy made the first rehab start of his second attempt at rehab, and it was a good one: 4IP, 4H, 1R, 2BB, 4SO. He reportedly had very good velocity and looked much more comfortable on the mound. Omar Poveda piggy-backed in relief of Beachy and also had a good game: 4IP, 2H, 1R, 0BB, 5SO, 1HR. He too, is ready if needed (though hopefully injuries don’t get to a point to where he’s needed). I am wondering if Poveda is accumulating some trade value. He looks like he could be a decent back-end rotation innings eater for somebody.
Mississippi lost. The M-Braves lost in 12 innings. Starting pitcher Aaron Northcraft put up decent numbers: 7IP, 7H, 2R, 0BB, 5SO, 1WP, 1Balk. He’s not on my top prospects list, and that will probably anger some (as it has in the past), but I see him as an organizational pitcher, and not as a guy who can break through at the next level.
Cats split double header: Hillcats lost and won. It’s been almost two weeks since the Cats have had a double-header — seems like the norm for them this year with all the rainouts in the region. There was nothing happening in the first game, as the Cats got 2-hit by the Royals top prospect, Kyle Zimmer. The second game was a different story, as they broke out the offense. Josh Elander hit his first Carolina League home run, Trenton Moses went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI, and David Rohm went 4-for-4 with 2 doubles. Rohm is finally starting to figure out the Carolina League, in his second year there, but still hasn’t turned enough of those doubles into home runs to be considered a prospect in my book.
Wren, and little else: Rome lost. Not much happening in the R-Braves game. Starter Frank Lafreniere didn’t have it, allowing 6 runs in 5 innings. Leadoff man Kyle Wren once again got a hit and stole a base. Amazingly, he has hit safely in 12 of his 13 games as a pro, and 11 straight. He’s reached base safely in all 13 games since joining the Braves organization.