Off-day for the big league Braves: While they have played 20 straight games since the All-Star break (16-and-4 in that span), they’re about to get a nice easy schedule for the next two weeks. They have one of the longer stretches at home, playing the next 9 games at Turner Field, with 3 off-days sprinkled in (yesterday, next Thursday, and the following Monday). This will help the Braves get much needed rest for their everyday players, and extra days rest for members of their pitching staff.
Caramel Bear wins it: Gwinnett won. Ernesto Mejia hit a solo homer (his 28th round-tripper of the season) in the top of the 10th inning to give the G-Braves the win. Mejia played with Evan Gattis in Venezuela this past winter, and came close to matching the White Bear in offensive awesomeness — each guy hit 16 HR, Mejia OPS .891, Gattis OPS .960. But while Gattis got the nickname, the hype, and the Major League roster spot, poor Ernesto has been slugging away in anonymity at triple-A all year. You might remember him in years past as the guy who looks a lot like Albert Pujols. I figured Ernesto deserved at least a good nickname, so I thought I’d give him one akin to his slugging former teammate, and call him the Caramel Bear. Mejia is limited to first defensively, and that has certainly hurt his Major League chances, but I hope he gets a shot at some point.
Cats come up road weary: Hillcats lost. Lynchburg committed 5 errors, and reliever Carlos Perez couldn’t get an out in the 7th inning as 7 runs scored. Perez walked 4, balked, and committed 2 errors himself that inning. Starter A.J. Holland didn’t complete 3 innings, while allowing 4 hits and hitting 3 hitters. When you see ugly games like this in the minors you can either roll your eyes and scoff at the lack of effort or you can realize the sometimes-harsh realities behind minor league life. The Hillcats didn’t sleep in a bed last night, they spent 8 hours on a bus going from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to Wilmington, Delaware. The Cats have had many such bus rides like that this year, as the term Carolina League seems to be an anachronism of the past. Heck, Lynchburg is in the middle of Virginia.
Sims, Peraza shine for Rome: Rome won. Lucas Sims had the longest outing of his career, and it was another good one for the young hurler: 7IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 9SO, 1HR, 1WP. He was tagged with a two-run home run in his seventh inning of work, but he was able to retire the side after that and exit with the lead. Shortstop Jose Peraza was 3-for-5 on the day with his 50th stolen base in 62 attempts. Peraza has the best speed in the Braves system, and he is getting better and better at using it to advance himself on the base paths. All 9 guys in the starting lineup for Rome had at least one hit.