Pitching, pitching, pitching: Julio Teheran, Luis Avilan, and Craig Kimbrel 2-hit the best hitting team in the NL — the Cardinals lead in AVG, OBP, OPS, and OPS+. In the past two games Braves pitchers have allowed just 6 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run… to the best offense in the NL. This is a stark reminder that the Braves are in first place because they have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, not because of a dominant offense. They have an opportunistic offense and a vintage mid-90s dominant pitching staff. Of course, the pitching staff is using 95% of their potential and don’t have much room to get any better, while the offense is using about 35% of it’s potential.
Poveda good again: Gwinnett lost. The G-Braves got beaten in extras, but starting pitcher Omar Poveda tossed yet another solid game: 6IP, 6H, 3R, 1BB, 9SO, 2WP, 2HR. He could probably put up that same kind of line in the Majors; nothing special, but a back-end rotation option if one is needed (but let’s hope it’s not needed).
Thomas good again: Mississippi won. The M-Braves won, and starting pitcher Ian Thomas tossed yet another solid game: 7IP, 7H, 2R, 1ER, 0BB, 8SO. Thomas has really taken to starting, having spent most of the season in the bullpen. I ranked him 20th on my mid-season prospect list, and he’s only improving his chances of moving up that list. He’s probably still ticketed for the bullpen, but the ability he’s shown in the rotation has increased his value considerably. Tommy La Stella extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 2-for-3 day (and a walk).
Hillcats lost. Not much happening. Catcher Shawn McGill went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .419 in his past 9 games. McGill is one of those guys you never hear of. He’s not a prospect; mainly a backup catcher whom the Braves bounce around from one level to another to plug holes. He’s a solid backstop though.
Rome lost then won. Mauricio Cabrera got knocked around in the game one loss: 6IP, 11H, 5R, 3BB, 2SO, 1HR, 2WP. The R-Braves won game two with good pitching from Patrick Scoggins, Jeremy Fitzgerald, and Eric Pfisterer, who had to get bailed out by Shae Simmons, who struck out one guy looking for his 23rd save of the season.
Me on radio… down under: I’ll be interviewed on LiveSPORT Radio in New Zealand on Monday, which is actually around 5:25pm this afternoon (Sunday) Atlanta time. Soooo… if you’re in New Zealand, tune in! (They’re televising the Braves-Cards game down there.)