Braves > Pirates Shutout Braves To Wrap Up Series

| June 8, 2015

Braves Baseball 2

Kyle Taylor, Valdosta Today Sports

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves found themselves trying to avoid losing a series at home to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.

It would not be an easy task against one of, if not the best, pitchers in the NL. Gerrit Cole (8-2) took the mound for Pittsburgh against Alex Wood (4-2) of the Braves.

As anticipated, the game was a pitcher’s duel through the first four innings on a hot afternoon at Turner Field. All the scoring in the game came in the top of the fifth inning against Alex Wood. Wood gave up hits to Josh Harrison and Jordy Nelson, with a walk to Gerrit Cole sandwiched in between. The Braves lefty got a big strikeout of Andrew McCutchen with the bases loaded and one out. Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang of the Pirates then drove in three combined runs with two outs.

Gerrit Cole previously hit Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons with pitches and Wood threw one tight and inside to Cole when he came to the plate. Tensions were already high, plus Alex Wood was not happy with home plate umpire, Mark Carlson, who Wood thought was being inconsistent with his strike zone. Carlson tossed Wood from the game when the Braves were heading back to the dugout.

Fredi Gonzalez told MLB.com, “I know Woody, and we love him to death as a competitor, but he still can’t get himself close to getting thrown out there. We didn’t do anything offensively after that, but I’d rather have Woody give you a couple more innings and stay in the fight there.”

The messages continued to be sent when Brandon Cunniff threw a pitch behind Andrew McCutchen in the seventh. It will be something to monitor the next time the teams matchup at PNC Park on June 26th.

Whether this one was the fault of the Braves starter, or the umpire’s strike zone, the game was not blown by Atlanta’s bullpen, which has been an area the Braves front office has been looking to improve. They did this over the weekend by signing veterans David Aardsma and Dana Eveland to minor league contracts.

The Braves will welcome old friends Justin Upton, Melvin Upton, and Craig Kimbrel back to Atlanta with a four-game series against the San Diego Padres beginning with first pitch Monday night at 7:10. Ian Kennedy (3-5) will be facing Shelby Miller (5-2).

The MLB draft will begin Monday night with a start time of 7 p.m.

Braves Scouting Director, Brian Bridges, told MLB.com, “We want to get back to what we did, and what we did successfully as a Braves family (in the past). We drafted high-end high school players that are healthy, that are championship-caliber players…What I’ve been stressing to everybody, and we’ve stressed as a group. Who are they in October? Who do we think we are getting in October? You guys don’t want to be standing around here September (30th) in five years and going ‘Hey, the season’s over.’ That’s not what we’re trying to build, that’s not acceptable as a staff, I don’t think it’s acceptable, for even you guys as fans of the Braves, to expect anything less than championship caliber players. That’s what we want to bring.”

Mark Bowman sent out a tweet that read, “Expect the #Braves to get back to the days when their Drafts were traditionally high-school and pitching-heavy.”

Question – What do you think of the Braves strategy in the draft as reported by Mark Bowman?

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