LAWRENCEVILLE — Throughout the past few weeks, one of the biggest concerns Gwinnett Braves manager Randy Ready had about his team — aside from pitching depth — has been developing consistency at the plate.
As the G-Braves hit the road for an eight-game road trip, beginning tonight at 7:05 in Rochester for the first of four games against the Red Wings, he is starting to see it.
Sure, there were plenty of ups and downs as the G-Braves managed just three wins on their most recent eight-game home stand.
However, the G-Braves ended that trip by splitting the last four games, scoring an average of five runs on 10 hits in those contests, which leads Ready to believe the trend is headed in the right direction.
“We’ve shown glimpses of it,” Ready said following the G-Braves 9-2 win over Columbus on Tuesday in the homestand finale. “I think some of our younger hitters are starting to process, (like) Joe (Leonard) and Todd (Cunningham) and even Terdo (Joey Terdoslavich). And I think with the blend of the guys who have been in the (International) league before, hopefully we can create some consistency one through nine (in the batting order).”
Tuesday’s win over Columbus was a perfect example of Ready’s ideal, as six different G-Braves had two hits on the day, while seven of the nine hitters in the lineup had at least one hit.
And as Ready hoped, those hits came from a blend of the younger players, such as IL rookies like Cunningham (2-for-3, RBI) and Leonard (2-for-4) and veterans like Tyler Pastornicky (2-for-5) and Ernesto Mejia (2-for-5, 2 RBIs).
“It’s just kind of getting comfortable, everyone settling in and just having good at bats,” said Pastornicky, who currently stands 11th in the IL with a .316 average, to go along with three home runs and 22 RBIs. “I think hitting is contagious. I think once you see some guys start throwing up good at bats up there, you want to go up there and contribute. That’s what everyone’s been doing.”
Indeed, an increasing number of G-Braves seem to be putting together some good at bats in recent days, including Pastornicky, who has at least one hit in 13 of his last 14 games.
Among the other G-Braves starting to get hot are Leonard, who has hit in 16 of his last 17 games to raise his average 58 points to its current .245, and Terdoslavich, who seems primed to break out of a mini-slump during the last homestand by belting a home run in each of the last two games.
And like Pastornicky, the 24-year-old outfielder, who is listed as the No. 18 prospect in the Braves’ organization, believes that a better vibe at the plate seems to be catching throughout the Gwinnett line-up.
“Yeah, I feel like … within the last few weeks, more and more guys seem to get more comfortable and (are) starting to find themselves a little bit and starting to come together as a team,” said Terdoslavich, who leads the IL in hits (79), extra-base hits (34), doubles (21) and total bases (138), and is also among the league leaders with a .315 average with 12 homers and 46 RBIs. “Even the outs we’re making, we’re hitting the ball hard. We had quite a few line outs (Tuesday) and quite a few balls that were caught at the wall. I think we’re starting to click right now.”