Walk-off wildness: According to the Elias Sports Bureau “Monday was the first day in Major League Baseball history with 3 walk-off home runs and a walk-off triple.” Watch them all here.
Braves got Downs, but never out: Let’s just get all the puns for Scott Downs’ name out of our system, myself included. Though that was such a crazy back and forth game last night that most fans were probably delirious enough to actually enjoy the puns. It was good to see the new addition to the bullpen get in the game and perform so well. It was also pretty funny to see Evan Gattis and many of the other Braves players essentially meet Scott Downs for the first time on the pitching mound:
Downs arrived at the stadium just before the start of the game and introduced himself to many of his new teammates when he entered with the game tied and the bases loaded with two outs in the ninth. […]
“I just kind of walked in and I was like ‘Hey guys, nice to meet you,'” Downs said.
A different kind of Johnson: The Braves placed Reed Johnson on the disabled list with left Achilles tendinitis, and recalled outfielder Todd Cunningham from triple-A. The Braves will replace Johnson with… well, here is what I said about Cunningham when I ranked him 27th in my mid-season top-30 prospects:
A good player with a lot of baseball tools, but no tool that screams above average. Still, he could have a long career as a Reed Johnson type role player and fourth outfielder.
Now he gets his first chance to be Reed Johnson.
Simmons thriving lower in the order: Batting in the 7th and 8th spots in the lineup this season Simmons is hitting .299. Andrelton is one of those players who puts a lot of pressure on himself to succeed, and maybe being lower in the order there’s less pressure on him than in the leadoff spot (where he was hitting just .223). Of course he hasn’t looked like a guy scared off by pressure situations when delivering game-winning hits the past two days. Batting order is a different animal though, and some guys just can’t hit in certain spots in the order. I do believe Simmons could grow into a useful top-of-the order hitter, but right now he belongs at the bottom.
Flande goes the distance: Gwinnett won. Starting pitcher Yohan Flande threw a complete game: 9IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, 0BB, 5SO. Two of those runs game in the final inning against Flande, who only threw 103 pitches in a very economical effort. Todd Cunningham went 0-for-5, and is 1-for-his-last-16 at the plate… but he got the call to the Majors. Poor Ernesto Mejia.
Bethancourt does it all: Mississippi won. Catcher Christian Bethancourt was all-world yesterday. He went 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored and he stole two bases. He has been on fire his last 13 games: .382/.390/.691 with 4HR and 5 doubles. He also has a 27-game on-base streak going during which he’s hitting .333/.378/.610. While the on-base ability is getting there, the power has been very surprising. Bethancourt has not shown this kind of power in his career.
Birthday boys: The M-Braves celebrate three birthdays today, as Edward Salcedo turns 22, Barrett Kleinknecht turns 25, and Christian Marrero turns 27.
Hillcats won. I’m not sure what to focus on in this game. The Cats have been a little flat lately. An interesting note: It was the first time the Hillcats have won a game when traveling over three hours the day of the game, going 0-6 in such games before tonight.
Sims struggles with control: Rome won. Lucas Sims struggled mightily with his control, but still got the win: 5IP, 7H, 4R, 3ER, 4BB, 5SO, 2HBP, 2WP. He’s now thrown almost 50 more innings than he did last season, so I imagine that the Braves will begin to back him off slowly and maybe put him back in the bullpen to limit his innings. Kyle Wren (21) and Jose Peraza (47) each stole another base, because that’s what they do. I hope they’re both on the same team next year (likely at Lynchburg), because it will be a fun head-to-head competition to see which one can steal more bases.
Topps for your wall: The Topps baseball card company is now offering 25” x 34” vintage art prints featuring digitally-remastered original Major League Baseball card artwork. Prints of old Dale Murphy cards are available, like the 1982 card on the right. Click here to view more.