Not too long ago, the Braves lost 3 straight games at home to the Phillies. Now, the tables have turned, as the Braves have stormed into Philadelphia and won 3 consecutive games and did so in 2 days thanks to a sweep of a Saturday double-dip in Philly. The first game was a 10-3 victory that saw the Braves fall behind 2-0 early before racing ahead as they hit Roberto Hernandez early and often. In the second game, the weird lineup was able to collect 5 runs and David Hale had a nice spot start, which was enough to give them the win and the sweep of the doubleheader.
I called the lineup for the 2nd game "weird" because it included such oddities as Jordan Schafer hitting leadoff, Andrelton Simmons batting 2nd, and Christian Bethancourt batting 8th. Yep, Bethancourt was called up today as a replacement for a dinged-up Evan Gattis and to relieve Gerald Laird at backstop because there was no way that he was going to play catcher in both games. Since this move was made somewhat out of necessity, not much was expected of Bethancourt but he did deliver a hit in his first MLB start and also got to participate in a win, which is not a bad way to get your first start under your belt.
Bethancourt landed in Philly around 5:30. Got to the ballpark about an hour before game time. #Braves— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) June 29, 2014
Meanwhile, Evan Gattis had X-rays done on his back after suffering a rhomboid (back) spasm on Friday night. The good news is that the X-rays were negative, which means that this may not be a long-term thing for Gattis. The bad news, of course, is that he'll probably still have to sit out a few more days and the Braves will be doing a MRI once the team gets back to Atlanta on Monday.
With the call-up of Christian Bethancourt, that meant that another player had to go back down to AAA once the 26-man roster went back to being a 25-man roster after the doubleheader day. Gus Schlosser was the 26th man on the roster, which meant that he was the one who had to go back down to Gwinnett. Schlosser's cup of coffee this time around included an scoreless inning pitched, which was the 9th inning of the nightcap.
Evan Gattis is not the only player whose on-field performance may warrant an All-Star selection. The other player is the ace of the pitching staff, Julio Teheran. Teheran's outing on Friday against the Phillies was another feather in a beautiful hat that he's been wearing for 2014, in which he's got an ERA of 2.34 and a FIP of 3.22 which contributes to a fWAR of 2.1, which is tied for 7th best among starters in the National League. That's All-Star material, y'all.
Throwing a no-hitter at any level of baseball is no small feat, which is why it was a pretty big deal when Lucas Sims and Alex Wilson combined to throw a no-hitter for Lynchburg on Thursday (despite somehow giving up a run in the process). It was an even bigger deal on Friday when the Hillcats did it again. Cody Scarpetta and Benino Pruneda worked together to leave the Wilmington Blue Rocks' "H" column blank for the 2nd consecutive night. It's the first time in Carolina League history that a team has thrown No-Nos on consecutive days, and there's another stat in this article that will blow your mind. Minor League or not, this is a pretty special occasion.
LEAGUE WIDE NEWS
Ian Kinsler has returned to the state of Texas this weekend and on Saturday, he hit his 9th home run of the season in an extremely opportune situation for the AL Central leaders. In the top of the 9th with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Jerome Williams was 1 out away from giving the Astros a 2nd consecutive victory over the Tigers. Williams failed to get the final out (which explains why he's with the Astros at this point in his career), as Kinsler hit it 400+ feet for a 3-run, go-ahead HR that gave the Tigers a lead that they wouldn't relinquish in the 9th.
Hey look, it's the A's again. Even though it took them 14 innings and nearly 5 hours, they're still winning. This time, the victim was the Miami Marlins in a game that included Coco Crisp scoring on a strikeout, a nice defensive play way back in the 7th from Derek Dietrich, and Josh Donaldson being the hitter that you'd expect him to be for Oakland. The A's are now 50-30, which is still the best record in baseball.