Monday, May 4, 2009
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Rain met the G-Braves in their glorious return to Georgia after a 4-2 road trip through Norfolk and Pawtucket last week. It looks like the rain won't be too much of a factor for tonight's 7 p.m. start against Syracuse. The tarp is on the field and head groundskeeper Gerry Huppmann just put a fan underneath it. There is no rain right now.
Back to baseball. The road trip and other work duties pulled us away from the GBlog for the week or so, but we are back now. And there is even a bit of sun.
Gwinnett improved its record to 10-14 on the road trip. When the team left Lawrenceville after its first homestand it stood at 6-12 and had won just two games at home. The G-Braves are 2-8 at their new park so far this season.
Things don't get any easier against 13-8 Syracuse. Pitching tonight for the Chiefs is Michael O'Connor (1-0, 1.42 ERA). The G-Braves just announced that Todd Redmond (1-1, 3.32 ERA) will get the start fro Gwinnett.
So far this season, pitching has been the one consistent factor for Gwinnett. The team is tops in the International League with a 2.91 ERA, 0.30 better than Pawtucket. Syracuse ranks third. Tommy Hanson leads the league in strikeouts with 38 and Luis Valdez is tops in saves with five. Hanson and Kris Medlen both rank in the top 10 for pitching with ERAs of 1.69 and 1.52, respectively.
Offensively, the only consistency has come from Barbaro Canizares who is batting .340 with 33 hits, five home runs and 14 RBIs. But over the road trip the offense started to come around. Gregor Blanco pushed his average to .240 from the lead off spot and has cut down on his strikeouts. In his last five games, Blanco is hitting .381.
The return of Diory Hernandez to the lineup late last week provided a boost as well. In his last 10 games, the infielder is hitting .464 with seven RBIs. Catcher Alvin Colina, playing every day for recently recalled Clint Sammons finished the last five games of the road trip batting .400.