Braves pitchers impressive until sloppy eighth inning of loss to Mets


Six Braves pitchers threw a two-hit shutout and had a 2-0 lead in their Grapefruit League opener Friday against the Mets ... until the eighth inning.

That’s when, as manager Brian Snitker aptly put it, “Spring training broke out.”

Miguel Socolovich’s bid for a bullpen job got off to a rocky start when he was charged with all the runs in the eighth inning of the Braves’ 6-2 loss at First Data Field. The right-hander gave up three walks and three hits, including a two-run double by Zach Borenstein.

Socolovich recorded only two outs, and the last two runs scored on bases-loaded walks issued by Akeel Morris before Morris got the final out of the inning.

Other bullpen candidates fared considerably better for the Braves, including Anyelo Gomez, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Yankees in December. Gomez pitched a perfect fifth inning with a pop-up, a ground out and strikeout, displaying good command while topping out at an impressive 98 mph.

“That’s kind of what you’re looking for at the back end (of the bullpen), so that was good to see,” Snitker said. “Pretty impressive. And I heard that coming in, that this guy’s got a big arm. Just watching him throw sides and everything, I was anxious to see him in a game and it was really good.”

Gomez, who’ll turn 25 on March 1, had a 1.92 ERA in a combined 38 games (one start) at four minor-league levels in 2017, racking up 87 strikeouts, 21 walks and only two homers allowed in 70 1/3 innings for a strikeout rate of 11.1 per nine innings.

“Give it all I can, give my best effort and do everything I can to make the major league roster,” he said through a translator Friday.

The slender right-hander said after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft, he realized the Braves might offer a better opportunity for him to advance to the majors. He must be kept on their major league roster all season or be offered back to the Yankees for half of the original $100,000 claiming price.

Braves left-hander Rex Brothers pitched a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts, lefty Sam Freeman pitched a perfect inning with one strikeout, and high-level starting-pitcher prospect Kolby Allard made his major league spring debut and gave up a leadoff walk before getting out of the sixth inning unscathed.

Allard got a big assist from journeyman outfielder Xavier Avery, who made a diving catch in right and threw to first base to double up the runner who reached on Allard’s walk.

Matt Wisler started for the Braves and pitched two solid innings, allowing two hits and no walks with one strikeout.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Braves’ win streak snapped on three unearned runs in ninth
Braves’ win streak snapped on three unearned runs in ninth

Julio Teheran just needed a little help. Despite his performance on the mound and at the plate, he didn’t get it. The Braves allowed three unearned runs in the ninth inning in a 5-3 loss to the Rockies Thursday night at SunTrust Park. Teheran trailed by a run in the fifth inning despite surrendering just two hits. Teheran’s RBI single in...
Q&A with Ronald Acuna on incident with Marlins
Q&A with Ronald Acuna on incident with Marlins

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna spoke with the media Thursday, through an interpreter, after he was hit in the left elbow by the Marlins’ Jose Urena and forced to leave Wednesday’s game. He was back in the lineup Thursday in a series opener against the Rockies. Here are excerpts from the interview: Q. How do you feel today? A. First of all...
Q&A with Ender Inciarte on Ronald Acuna incident
Q&A with Ender Inciarte on Ronald Acuna incident

Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte spoke to the media Thursday after rookie Ronald Acuna was hit by a pitch by the Marlins’ Jose Urena and forced to leave Wednesday’s game. Here is a transcript of some of the interview: Q. What was your reaction when you found out the injury to Ronald Acuna was not as bad as it could have been? A. I&rsquo...
Acuna text to Snitker: I’m 100 percent ready to play
Acuna text to Snitker: I’m 100 percent ready to play

Braves manager Brian Snitker got a text message from Ronald Acuna on Thursday afternoon. Give Ender Inciarte an assist for the translation. The message: I’m 100 percent ready to play. That came as quite a surprise after Acuna was forced to leave Wednesday night’s game after he was hit on the left elbow with the first pitch of his first...
Acuna’s elbow OK, Braves outfielder listed day-to-day 
Acuna’s elbow OK, Braves outfielder listed day-to-day 

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna has been ruled day-to-day after a CT scan performed Wednesday night on his left elbow came back normal, the team announced Thursday. The rookie outfielder left Wednesday’s game after he was hit with the first pitch of his first at-bat by the Marlins’ Jose Urena. Acuna will not miss any time, as he was...
More Stories