Wednesday, May 15 - 7:05 p.m.
Rome Braves (20-16)
RHP Mauricio Cabrera (36.2 IP, 3.19 ERA, 4.95 FIP, 13.5 K%, 17.3 BB%, .214 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (22-15)
RHP Chris Stratton (35.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 29.6 K%, 8.5 BB%, .262 BABIP)
The series finale between these two teams features one of the best pitching matchups of the season for not only Rome and Augusta, but for the South Atlantic League.
From the series preview: The Braves have let Cabrera loose in the rotation, throwing bullets in the mid-to-high-90s with boring action. He pairs that with a slurvy offering that has potential as a plus pitch, but is a ways away. He has an advanced feel for a changeup, which currently profiles as plus potential. The fact that Cabrera has a feel for a changeup is a positive sign as a prospect with a hard fastball, but he must gain a feel for pitching and hitting his spots if he wants to succeed as a starter. Cabrera has a 3.19 ERA but has walked 27 to 21 strikeouts.
Cabrera's low BABIP explains the good ERA despite poor peripherals. He has been fortunate to have balls hit at fielders and leave runners on base, recording a 72 percent strand rate. Regression eventually hits even the best, and one would expect Cabrera's ERA to even out some over the course of the season, especially if his walk rate remains as high as it is.
Stratton's current numbers are a pretty good indication of where he could be at the end of the season. He also has a low BABIP, but his polish and pitchability mean that number could remain low as batters are unable to make hard contact against him. Although it's just 35.2 innings, Stratton's season is playing out about as expected. He ranks among the best in strikeout rate for the league while maintaining a solid walk rate, and he's avoiding hard contact.
The Braves have done an excellent job of getting on base in the series, but they are having trouble manufacturing runs. On Tuesday, they had 12 hits but left 12 on base and went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. On Monday, they had 15 hits but left 10 on base and went 7 for 21 with runners in scoring position.
Compare that to the GreenJackets and it's easy to see why they're going for a sweep tonight. Augusta had eight hits Tuesday and left five on base, going 3 for 8 with runners in scoring position. On Monday, the team had 11 hits and left six on base, going 5 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
The GreenJackets are on the right track as far as manufacturing runs and taking advantage of their big ballpark. The Braves are taking a page from their parent club and attempting to slug for their runs in the series. Lake Olmstead Stadium doesn't allow for this.