I was on holiday this weekend, but they played baseball in spite of my absence.
Freddy: I did so much complaining about the possibility of Freddy Garcia getting called up, and then he was, and then he pitched really well. So I’ll eat crow… for now. Garcia threw 4.2 innings of scoreless relief on Sunday, getting 11 groundouts and 0 flyouts. When everything is working for Garcia, that’s what his line looks like. The other guy I was thinking the Braves would call up, Kameron Loe, will start in place of Teheran on Wednesday, skipping Julio’s turn through the rotation and giving him extra rest. These are the things a team can do with a 15 game lead and a magic number of 11.
More call-ups: Evan Gattis will rejoin the Braves today, and Todd Cunningham will likely come along too. Jose Constanza is already up with the club. Any additional call-ups would be a surprise. I’d like to see Gattis get the start tonight with Schafer suffering a lower back strain last night.
Varvaro save: Yep, Anthony Varvaro picked up a 2-inning save on Friday, giving Kimbrel some rest. Again, these are the things a team can do with a huge division lead. The Braves are also trying to nurse critical setup man Jordan Walden back to health. He has been out since August 21st with a strained groin — an injury that takes time to heal. From Freddi’s postgame comments yesterday it sounds like Walden will need several more days.
For the Braves, September will be a month to get all their players as healthy and well rested as they can be heading into the postseason.
And now for the minor league Braves…
Gwinnett ended the season with a 5-0 whimper, the 13th time they were shutout this season. It was a forgettable season for the G-Braves, who finished with the worst record in the International League. That’s to be expected though when half of your players are needed because of injuries on the big league club. In that respect, the G-Braves did their job by providing the Braves with warm bodies.
David Hale pitched okay on Monday: 6IP, 8H, 4R, 3ER, 1BB, 5SO, 1HBP. With Kameron Loe and Freddy Garcia getting called up to the Braves the odds of Hale getting called up go down considerably. They may still keep him sharp in the instructional league in case they need an extra arm (let’s hope they don’t). Cody Martin finished strong on Saturday: 5.1IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 3SO, 1WP. Sean Gilmartin did not finish strong on Sunday: 5IP, 10H, 7R, 2BB, 4SO. Evan Gattis was on a “get-fresh” assignment with Gwinnett and had 2 hits in each of the 3 games he played. Hopefully he can carry that good work with him to Atlanta when he is recalled today.
Going from Gwinnett to Mississippi was RHP Mark Lamm (as RHP James Hoyt was placed on the Sip DL with a right latissimus dorsi strain), but that means Lamm will continue to pitch as…
Mississippi makes the playoffs! The M-Braves won the decisive win-or-go-home final game of the season against the Suns in extra inning errant fashion. Before the final inning Suns error, the M-Braves needed some help with a Mobile win over Pensacola, and they got it. Sip didn’t make it easy on themselves by losing 3 of the final 5, but it was good practice for a 5-game series… they can consider themselves lucky and call the series against the Suns a mulligan. Playoffs begin on the road this Thursday in Mobile.
Cats back their way into postseason: Lynchburg lost their final four games of the season after they had clinched a Carolina League Wild Card berth. Their offense was put on ice by their nemesis Salem; they only managed 13 hits during the final 3-game series. The Hillcats will have to find an offensive spark as they take on the P-Nats for a best-of-3-game series all on the road starting Wednesday night in Potomac. Williams Perez (6-2, 2.62) gets the start for the Hillcats against Sammy Solis (2-1, 3.43) for the P-Nats.
The Hillcats will have some added speed as OF Kyle Wren was promoted from Rome to Lynchburg over the weekend. This is Wren’s 3rd stop of the year (4th actually), as he started the year off with Georgia Tech, then got drafted by the Braves and went to Danville, then Rome, and now Lynchburg — he’s got so much speed he even moves up the minor league ladder fast. Catcher Anthony Nunez was activated from the DL for Lynchburg as C Shawn McGill was placed on the DL. LHP Jose Lugo joins the club from rehab in Orlando.
Rome got some good pitching to finish off the season. Sunday was a great final start from Lucas Sims: 5IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, 7SO. Reliever Eric Pfisterer ran into trouble in his final appearance: 2.2IP, 3H, 2R, 1BB, 4SO, 1WP. Wes Parsons finished off a terrific season yesterday with another great outing: 6IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 6SO. You could tell yesterday was the last game of the season, with a 1 hour and 50 minute game. Just one walk in the game (which was the winning run for the opponent in the 9th) as every batter was swinging — the R-Braves weren’t making much contact when they swung with just one hit on the day, an infield single from Jose Peraza. Peraza, of course, took the opportunity to steal a base, his 64th of the season. Rome had a good second half, but not good enough to make the playoffs.