Topic: Ryan Kalish
Right-hander Tosses Six Shutout Innings in Triple-A Debut
Nashville, TN – A stellar Triple-A debut from pitcher Daniel Mengden and a big game at the plate from Renato Nunez pushed the Nashville Sounds to a 5-1 win over the Iowa Cubs Monday night in front of 4,144 fans at First Tennessee Park.
Mengden, freshly promoted from Double-A Midland, tossed six shutout innings. In five total starts in 2016, he has not allowed any runs in four of them. He scattered five hits, walked a pair and struck out four in the win.
The right-hander got help from a number of Sounds in the lineup, but none more than Nunez. The third baseman went 3-for-4 with a home run, triple and two runs knocked in.
Nashville Sounds Baseball.
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Nashville Sounds Baseball
Nashvilleâ€™s Kevin Mattison Homers; Mills Logs Quality Start in Loss
Nashville, TN – The Nashville Sounds could not overcome a few ill-timed mistakes and a solid start from Iowa Cubs pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada in a 4-2 loss Tuesday afternoon at Greer Stadium.
Trailing by three in the ninth, outfielder Kevin Mattison narrowed the deficit to 4-2 when he led off with a solo home run. The blast was his fifth of the season. Later in the inning, the Sounds brought the winning run to the plate following two-out singles from Jeff Bianchi and Hector Gomez, but Iowa reliever Blake Parker struck out Sean Halton to end the game.
Nashville Sounds Baseball.
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Lose eight, win two.
(Everybody freak out!)
Win six, lose four.
Win one, lose three.
(Everybody freak out!)
Win three, lose two.
That’s how it’s gone for the Braves over the last month. The only thing consistent about the ballclub has been its inconsistency.
The maddening variations hit a crescendo last week. The Braves waltzed into New York and the House that George built and laid the wood to the Yankees. Not only did the Braves take the series, they halted the 10-game win streak that had catapulted the Yanks to the top of the American League East.
Then the Braves flipped the script again, journeying to Fenway and facing a Boston team reeling from a combination of injuries, fan acrimony and general bitterness; even a good soldier like David Ortiz popped off about the fans last week.
Audience participation time! See if you recognize these names: Franklin Morales. Daniel Nava. Cody Ross. Ryan Kalish. Darnell McDonald.
Nope, not the male cast for next season’s Glee. Morales was the Red Sox Saturday starting pitcher and the other four started in the outfield at various times over the weekend. No Jacoby Ellsbury, no Carl Crawford, no Josh Beckett should have been no problem for the Braves, right?
Somehow, the Sox took two of three.
Remember last week, when I said stupid things like, “I just hope the Braves can take one game against the Yankees,” and “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that (Red Sox) series had ‘sweep’ written all over it”?
Yeah. My bad.
So I’m not Nostradamus, although I think he may have had trouble pinning down this particular Braves team. Jason Heyward was one of the most maligned players in either league last season; he’s hitting .349 since May 25; he earned NL Player of the Week honors on Monday. Since his call-up, rookie Andrelton Simmons is hitting .329 and is making everybody that drank the “Tyler Pastornicky is big-league ready now” Kool-Aid coming out of spring training look like an imbecile.
Then you have established guys like Brian McCann (hitting .200 over the last month and just .235 this season) and Chipper (hasn’t been the same since getting injured back in April, hitting just .189 the past month) having what is, for them, abysmal seasons.
Over the last month, it’s been interesting to watch the direction this team has trended towards. With Chipper on the way out the door, with Mac possibly hitting the other side of the mountain (28 is old for a catcher, a position that ages people in dog years it seems) and even guys like Tim Hudson and Matt Diaz getting long in the tooth, this team is slowly becoming the property of guys like Simmons (the most electric midseason call-up since Jermaine Dye and someone that will get his own column at some point in the near future), Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel. It’s the kids’ show now, for better and for worse.
Sometimes it’ easy to see the future is in good hands, like every time you see Simmons make one of his stellar defensive plays. Or when you watch Freeman make an outstanding scoop to end an inning and rope a double to lead off the following frame. Or when Kimbrel stomps out to the mound with fire in his eyes and you can feel the opposing dugout deflate.
Other times, it looks like a team that needs to get huge contributions from 22- to 25-year olds to be successful. That doesn’t always happen, and that’s where we find the inconsistency.
Long-term, things look great for this team. In the here and now, the one step forward-two steps back routine may continue. Patience is a virtue that successful ball clubs must embody on occasion; that doesn’t mean it won’t be frustrating to watch the young guys take their lumps sometimes.
No game=No loss. If only all Monday’s could be this way.
Thankfully, the Kevin Youkilis to the Braves rumors turned out to be unfounded; the Red Sox traded the 33-year old to the Chicago White Sox Sunday, putting an end to speculation that the Braves could be suitors. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I have a feeling a struggling player wrapped in a dominating personality like Youk would have been a poor fit with a young club helmed by Fredi Gonzalez, who may or may not know what he’s doing from week to week.
(Seriously Fredi, if you’re reading this: Give Medlen a start. Just two; if he can’t hack it, move him back to the pen and tell Frank Wren to start scouring the trade block for a starter. But until you let Medlen prove he can’t be a starter, the rumblings will only get louder. Move Minor to the pen, send him down, whatever. But we need to see if this will work. If it won’t, we can go back to the current system that practically guarantees a loss every five days.)
This week’s rumor du jour appears to be Zach Greinke. The Brewers righty will be a free-agent at season’s end and it looks as though the Brew Crew already feel priced out by what is certain to become a bidding war between the Yankees (a mortal lock to offer Greinke crap-loads of cash) and the Rangers (desperate for a top-line starter). With the Brewers already seven games under .500 and seven and a half back in the NL Central, he’s the early favorite for ‘coveted two-month rental’ for a contender and the Braves certainly qualify.
While I have no idea what the asking price would be right this second, it seems only logical that Milwaukee would demand no fewer than three top-shelf prospects in a trade. While this wouldn’t be highway robbery for a guy of his caliber, the Braves could get better value for someone else without giving up as much; with Mac’s option coming up after the season and Michael Bourn in search of a long-term contract, the Braves would not factor into the Greinke sweepstakes unless they showed a sudden willingness to spend above the self-imposed $90 million threshold and it wouldn’t make sense to deplete the farm system for two months of top-shelf starter.
Three with the Diamondbacks and three with the Nationals allow the Braves to close out June at home.
When last we saw the D’backs, the Braves were strutting out of the desert winners of three of four, including the last good game Minor pitched – which was in April, for what it’s worth. The D’Backs have been a consistent if slightly disappointing side this year – two games above .500 isn’t what the reigning NL West champs were hoping for, but last season’s success was so unexpected that a return to earth was all but assured.
Wade Miley (9-3, 2.19 ERA) has been a nice surprise for Arizona; thankfully, the Braves will avoid him after he dispatched Matt Garza (future Brave?) and the Cubs Sunday night. Closer JJ Putz has been rocky (three blown saves, 5.25 ERA); imminently hittable, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made the ninth inning interesting a time or two in this series.
The weekend fun comes against the Precocious Washington Nationals – I’m almost positive that’s their official name now. With Minor and Randall Delgado slated to go against the Nats, it’s important for Huddy, Tommy Hanson and JJ to go deep in the three games against Arizona to save the ‘pen for what’s sure to be extensive work against Washington.
You know about Bryce Harper; you know about Stephen Strasburg. You may not know that former Brave Adam Laroche leads the Nationals in home runs (13) and RBI (44) this season, or that closer Tyler Clippard is limiting opponents to a .136 average this season and has 12 saves since taking over for Henry Rodriguez in May.
I believe that the Braves did not take the Nats seriously the last time these teams met. I also believe that they won’t make that mistake again. This is a series with big NL play-off implications and the Braves would be wise to take Washington very seriously moving forward.