While the Braves are losing series, struggling just to get back to .500 and projecting little hope of making the playoffs, they can remember what happened Thursday night as a positive sign for the future -- not just their own but pitcher Manny Banuelos'.
Banuelos, the third Braves' pitcher to make his major league debut this season (Williams Perez, Matt Wisler) and the fourth to make his first start (Mike Foltynewicz), smothered the Washington Nationals Thursday night at Turner Field. He threw a two-hit shutout for 5 2/3 innings and had seven strikeouts until being forced to leave with dehydration and cramping in his left calf and fingers, which led him to hit two batters in the sixth.
Banuelos didn't get the decision in the 2-1 win over Washington but he was the story. The Braves not only won in his debut, they did so with a 24-year-old rookie beating Max Scherzer, one of the game's best pitchers, who fell to 9-6 despite an ERA of 1.82 and striking out nine.
"He locked up with one of the best pitchers in the game and he matched him pitched for pitch," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Banuelos, a native of Mexico, was acquired from the New York Yankees in January in the David Carpenter trade. He missed the 2013 season after Tommy John surgery, came back last season and has been strong this year with Triple A Gwinnett (6-2, 2.29).
"I’ve been waiting for this moment for years and years," Banuelos said "Then I get an injury and all that, but thank God I made it."
He only needs to resolve this dehydration issue. He said he "drank a lot of fluids today and yesterday" because the same thing happened to him in a start two weeks ago.
"We knew he was a sweater. That what our reports said," Gonzalez said.
I believe that's the first time I've heard that in a post-game interview.
Water and Gatorade should cure him.
It's one of the easier problems that the Braves have to fix.