Braves > Braves Split Series With Rays in Perez’s Debut

| May 21, 2015

Braves Baseball

Kyle Taylor, Valdosta Today Sports

ATLANTA – All season long the Braves have been experimenting with this new look roster. This experimenting has mostly come with the starting lineup, but in recent weeks the focus has been on the final two spots in the starting rotation.

On Wednesday night, right-handed native out of Venezuela, Williams Perez, made his debut against the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of a short two game series on Javy Lopez bobblehead night at Turner Field.

Perez and the Braves came away with a 2-1 victory. The win was Atlanta’s fourth in their last five games.

There was a reason Perez got the call over some of the other options in the Braves organization, as he posted a 1.33 ERA in five starts for Gwinnett. It was likely heading into this game that Perez would get a few starts to earn the final spot in the rotation, and he made a good case Wednesday night to keep the spot.

Perez finished with a line of 5 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts, while not factoring into the decision.

Should Williams find a position in the rotation, the Braves will have an average age of twenty-four years old among their starters. Every team would love to have a veteran, Tim Hudson type pitcher in the rotation, but this could be an exciting process for the Braves that will be fun to watch develop.

Perez gave up his first and only run in the first inning after giving up two hits and a sacrifice fly off the bat of James Loney. While he did get into some trouble in the fourth, Perez was able to get an inning-ending double play hit by Asdrubal Cabrera in what easily could have been considered the play of the game. Perez showed plenty of emotion as he spiked the baseball after recording the out at first.

Perez told through a translator, “One of the best parts of my game was having the changeup and curveball working. That was a big thing for me and why I pitched so well today.”

Fredi Gonzalez also spoke with an ESPN reporter, “He was terrific. You can’t ask for anything more.”

The Braves scored their two runs off a single from Alberto Callaspo, scoring Andrelton Simmons in the third, and a Todd Cunningham ground out in the sixth, scoring Freddie Freeman who started it off with a double.

Jake Odorizzi (3-3) continues to get some of the worst run support in the American League and pitched well again Wednesday night. Odorizzi took the loss once again, giving him a 3-4 record on the season.

Jason Grilli continues to show no signs of back issues as he came in to close the game in the ninth for his 12th save The save followed three scoreless innings from the Braves relievers. Brandon Cunniff earned his second win of the season in relief.

Jason Grilli said on social media, “Great energy in the stadium tonight. Thanks for firing me up.”

The Braves will try to keep the fire going Thursday night as they open a four game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. First pitch will be a 7:10 once again from Turner Field. Julio Teheran (3-1) will go against Matt Garza (2-5) in a matchup where both pitchers are trying to rebound from tough starts to the season.

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