Ledezma's struggles continue

  • Follow Braves

PHOENIX - Wil Ledezma sat slumped in his chair Friday night, staring dejectedly into his locker after giving up a walk-off home run to the Arizona Diamondbacks' Tony Clark.

Arizona's Tony Clark (right) was greeted at home after leading off the 11th inning Friday with a home run off Atlanta reliever  Wil Ledezma. Ledezma is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA since June 20.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Arizona's Tony Clark (right) was greeted at home after leading off the 11th inning Friday with a home run off Atlanta reliever Wil Ledezma. Ledezma is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA since June 20.

"I'm not talking anymore," he said, brushing off questions from reporters he had hardly talked to since arriving in a trade from the Detroit Tigers in June.

On Saturday, the Braves reliever was more talkative. But he was no less discouraged about the first impression he has given the team.

The left-hander is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA since the June 20 trade.

"It's been a tough month," he said. "This month is the worst I've had in all my career."

The Braves sent former Screven County standout Macay McBride to the Tigers to get Ledezma, citing Ledezma's potential as a starter. But the 26-year-old hasn't inspired much confidence in his bullpen role, never mind a future starting job.

He has been ineffective against left-handed batters, who are hitting .317 against him. That's partly why the team is looking to acquire another left-hander before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline.

Pitching coach Roger McDowell said he still sees plenty of potential. It just hasn't been evident on nights such as Friday, when Clark's home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning gave Arizona an 8-7 win.

"With younger players, trades sometimes have a way of affecting the mental part," McDowell said. "Obviously, coming to a new team, you're trying to do well, trying to impress, and he might be pressing just a little bit."

McBride has fared better with Detroit so far, having allowed five earned runs in 10 innings entering Saturday (4.50 ERA).

FANTASY FACTOR: Despite allowing three runs Saturday, John Smoltz pitched into the seventh inning for the third consecutive game. So far, 18 of his 20 starts have been quality (pitching six innings or more) and Saturday also marked the fifth time this year he did not issue a walk.

DIAZ STILL SLUGGING: Left fielder Matt Diaz went 1-for-4 with a two-run double in Saturday's 4-3 loss to Arizona, and his hitting a team-high .344.

His platoon status prevents him from getting enough at-bats to win a batting title, but Diaz has given every indication he would stack up against the National League's best in an everyday role.

His .372 average since April 30 leads all major-league hitters. And he is by far the majors' most prolific pinch hitter, going 12-for-33.

GAME TIME CHANGE: The Braves' next road trip will last just a little bit longer now that their Aug. 12 game against Philadelphia has been moved from 1:35 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. to accommodate ESPN.

The network irked players earlier this season by moving their July 22 game against the St. Louis Cardinals into the night slot, forcing them to fly overnight to San Francisco for Monday's game.

The Aug. 12 game will be the fifth and final Sunday Night Baseball appearance for the Braves this season.

THE LATE SHOW: Night owls and insomniacs have had something to do for the past week with the Braves out West. Since Sunday, the average time the last out has been recorded was approximately 1:30 a.m.

Reach Brian Costa at brian.costa@morris.com.

loading...
Search Augusta jobs