Med-gone: The murmurs the next few days will be about Brandon Beachy taking Kris Medlen’s rotation spot. Beachy starts tonight for Gwinnett, and how long he goes in that game should tell us what that decision might be. Beachy threw 5 innings in his last start. If he throws less than that tonight, then he’s taking Medlen’s spot in the rotation. He would only have 3 days rest, so the Braves wouldn’t want him to overextend himself tonight. If he goes longer than 5 innings, then Medlen’s spot is probably safe (for now).
Medlen may still make his next turn on Sunday, with Beachy stepping into the rotation next Monday, and everyone else getting pushed back a day. We’ll have to keep a close eye on it… and we will. Making the most educated guess I can, I predict that one way or another Beachy will take Medlen’s rotation spot.
Avoiding the big inning: …that seems to be Medlen’s biggest problem this year, and last night was a perfect example. His line through the first 5 innings was pretty good: 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1BB, 4SO. But then his control deserted him. He gave up 4 hits in the 5th inning, and all of them were on fat pitches that were not thrown in the right place. It happened really quick, and that was the game. Of course, if the Braves offense had capitalized on just a third of their run scoring opportunities, then we likely wouldn’t be talking about a loss last night.
Gwinnett won. Yohan Flande had a good start: 6IP, 4H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 2SO. Third baseman Joe Leonard hit a go-ahead 2-run double, and was 2-for-4 in the game. He’s been hitting better of late — .314 AVG over his last 10 games. It looks like he’s finally starting to catch up to triple-A pitching. He’s a strange prospect; a really good defensive third baseman, an average contact hitter, but no real power in his swing for a guy who is 6-foot-5 (he has 0 home runs this season). He’ll probably spend another year at triple-A, but if he can ever find some pop he could be a decent player.
Hits for Sip: Mississippi won. The first six batters in the M-Braves lineup had at least 2 hits each, as the offense was eager to get back on the field after two consecutive days of rain-outs. Tommy La Stella went 2-for-5 to move his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games. He’s hitting .386/.471/.477 during the streak, with more walks (6) than strikeouts (5). He needs to be challenged more at the plate and moved up to Gwinnett to face tougher pitching. Aaron Northcraft also had a nice start: 6.1IP, 4H, 1R, 2BB, 5SO, 1HBP.
Lynchburg lost. Not much happening for the Hillcats. Their pitching staff got beaten up, and their offense couldn’t muster any rallies. Matt Lipka went 2-for-5 with 2 doubles. He found his way onto a couple of mid-season prospect lists, but not mine. While he is a former first round pick there’s no reason to keep thinking of him as one. He’s demonstrated in pro ball that he’s just not that good. He doesn’t have much power; he’s got speed, but doesn’t steal bases very well, and he has trouble getting on base.
Sims-sanity: Rome won. Lucas Sims, starting pitcher, top draft pick, top prospect… he pitched very well again: 6IP, 4H, 0R, 2BB, 6SO. He has a .196 batting average against on the season. He’s 19. That’s just awesome. Kyle Wren pulled off a new one last night by stealing home on a double-steal attempt.