Another day, another split squad Spring Training adventure for the Braves. This time, their biggest adversary was not the other team on the field but the Florida skies, who opened up a downpour to prevent either of the games from continuing on to completion.
In one instance, the rain actually caused a Spring Training game to be postponed (is such a thing even possible?) Sadly, this was the crazier game of the two. Even the first inning of this one was wacky: Ender Inciarte started the game by tripling off of Detroit starter Shane Greene, and proceeded to actually cross home plate on the same play on a throwing error by Ian Kinsler. Then, in the bottom of the frame, Kinsler decided to get that run back: he drew a walk off of John Gant, stole second, and then moved two more bases on consecutive groundouts to knot up the game.
So two runs scored in two half-innings essentially by two batters by themselves. Weird, right? But there's more. In the top of the second, Shane Greene loaded the bases with Braves with none out. The next hitter, Willians Astudillo, did something a Brave (nay, a Barve) rarely does: he hit into a triple play! Now, this game wasn't televised, so I can't confirm that this really and truly happened, but if it did, we've hit peak Spring Training. It's unclear exactly how it happened (maybe someone can shed some light), but it was either a tag followed by a throw to second and then on to first, or there was an overshift on for Astudillo and Jose Iglesias, the Tigers' shortstop, fielded the ball, and threw it around the horn.
The game would stay tied until a bit later, when Hector Olivera would pound a two-run shot, his first of the spring, off of Greene. That gave the Braves a 3-1 lead. and the skies would open up and render the game unplayable shortly thereafter. John Gant pitched a "complete game" with four hitless innings, allowing just the one run, but he did walk three while only striking out one. Still, he keeps going out there and preventing runs, which is more than can be said for some of the other starters the Braves have tried out this spring. In any case, since the game was "postponed," it's kind of like none of this ever happened. But it did, and it was really weird.
The other game, which was played to shortened completion, featured Julio Teheran shutting down the Astros. Teheran pitched six scoreless in this one, allowing just four hit and punching out five in a pretty dominant outing. It was an Astros lineup that featured only half regulars, but it was still encouraging to see. Jason Grilli came in for the seventh and walked Colby Rasmus to lead off the inning. After a steal by pinch-runner Tony Kemp, Grilli allowed a bit of a dunker from Jason Castro that scored the speedy Kemp. Had someone other Michael Bourn been playing left, Kemp may have been gunned down at the plate, but Bourn's throw was late and not particularly good. Grilli then struck out the next two hitters to preserve the tie.
Earlier in the game, the Braves scored their run off of former division foe Ken Giles (the guy who the Astros paid a small ransom to acquire) and Tony Sipp. Giles was in his second inning of work after relieving Dan Straily, who stymied the Braves for four frames, and he allowed a soft pop-up double to Gordon Beckham. After a pop-out bunt from Teheran, Sipp relieved Giles and got a groundout from Michael Bourn, but then allowed a triple to Erick Aybar, scoring Beckham. Nick Markakis, however, would strand Aybar on third with a groundout.
So, perhaps less baseball than expected, but some pretty crazy stuff. The Braves face off against the Mets tomorrow back at Disney, where maybe some other exciting things will happen. Jacob "Hair" deGrom faces off against Bud "Bud" Norris in that one.