The Gwinnett Braves will conclude their three-game series at Coolray Field with the Charlotte Knights on Friday. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET and will air on CSS.
The Braves have taken a different look during the past two weeks. Joey Terdoslavich, Jose Constanza, and Todd Cunningham have been promoted to Atlanta, and all served vital roles to the G-Braves on offense.
Gwinnett will have some star power in their lineup, as B.J. Upton begins his rehab assignment. The center fielder was placed on the disabled list on July 13 with a right adductor strain. Upton will play about a week’s worth of games with Gwinnett, before being added back to Atlanta’s 25-man roster.
Ernesto Mejia, one of Gwinnett’s biggest offensive providers, has been struggling lately. With just one home run in his past 10 games, he also owns a .171 batting average with just four RBI.
Another offensive player who has been struggling for Gwinnett—one of their bigger offensive threats—is third baseman Allen Carrithers. He’s struggled to the tune of a .212 batting average with just two extra-base hits in his last 10 games.
The Knights have struggled offensively as well. Their best performers, first baseman Travis Ishikawa and catcher Josh Phegley, have struggled during the last week. Luckily, first baseman Andy Wilkins and third baseman Steve Tolleson have been playing well. Between Tolleson and Wilkins, they own a .349 average in 63 at-bats.
The Braves will send their most consistent starter to the mound in Omar Poveda. Though Poveda is winless in his last six starts, he owns a 3.27 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 33 innings. In his last start against Charlotte, he pitched six innings, while giving up three earned runs, but struck out nine.
The Knights will counter with Charles Leesman. His overall numbers look fine, but his luck is starting to dwindle. In his past seven starts, he owns a 4.47 ERA, with 27 strikeouts and 20 walks in 38 innings. His last start against Gwinnett was against Poveda on July 27. He pitched six innings, and gave up three runs while striking out three in a Knights 6-5 win.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Center fielder BJ Upton: Upton was signed by Atlanta in the offseason to a five-year deal worth $75 million. Unfortunately for Upton and the Braves, he has struggled mightily. The organization hopes that Upton will recover some confidence in his rehab stint and help the parent club make a push during the playoffs. Upton is an electric player when he is healthy and clicking on all cylinders.