The Mississipi Braves’ season has ended at the hands of the Mobile Bay Bears, losing 3 out of their four games, sending their opponent to the Southern League Finals this week. But one of their players gets a consolation prize: an all-expenses paid trip to Miami to join the Atlanta Braves: Christian Bethancourt has been recalled by the Braves, and he’s now in the majors for the balance of the season.
On Friday, Mississippi defeated Mobile by a 4-3 socre with Iam Thomas pitching into the 6th innings – lots of base runners, but no runs yielded. In fact, Mobile was held to nothing at all – until Ryne Harper gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth (Nick Evans of Mobile: 2-run homer with 2 out) to make the contest uncomfortably interesting.
On Saturday, the two teams went to Pearl to give the M-Braves a home game in the series, but while Mississippi scored more runs (6) than in an other game in the series, they also stranded a bunch more (9). Ultimately, they fell 7-6 thanks, once again, to late runs allowed. Gus Schlosser went 7 innings, yielding 3 earned. Pat Egan took a blown save and the loss, though the Braves’ fielding was involved: 2 errors (3B Edward Salcedo and RF Jose Martinez) cost the team 2 unearned runs.
Sunday’s finale in the 5-game series was just one of those days: the Braves only managed 4 hits while Mobile pounded the baseballs early and often: after a first inning run, they got nine more in the third to blow it open, then five more later en route to a 15-0 blowout. Aaron Northcraft was the chief victim on the mound (6 earned in 2.1 innings, though Gary Moran couldn’t even slow down the bleeding: 4 earned, only 1 out recorded. Even Shae Simmons wasn’t exempt: he gave up the other five runs, getting 4 outs only. It was pretty ugly.
For the series, Christian Bethancourt hit very well: 5 for 13 (.385); Tommy La Stella hit .417 (5-12) with a double, Edward Salcedo went 6-13 (.461) with a homer and 3 RBI, though his errors were cashed in by Mobile. SS Jaime Pedroza had a 4-11 (.364) series, and 1B Jaime Luna hit .333 in 9 trips. Robby Hefflinger? Two hits (.222) – but one was a solo homer.
So now we get to see Bethancourt first hand: and the Braves now have four catchers in the same dugout – leading to this wag’s comment:
Bethancourt peaked around .292 this year – in the league’s top ten in batting – before fading to a .277 in the last couple of weeks. Clearly he supplied some of the attack in the playoffs, so he comes to Miami fairly hot. He posted a minor league career high 12 homers this year with another career high 21 doubles – the homer count being more than double any season’s previous output. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares: I do expect him to get at least a couple of starts per week over the last 20 games. He’s technically eligible for the post-season, though that won’t happen unless some other wheels fall off the Braves’ playoff bus… though we’ve seen worse things happen this strange year.
Nonetheless – from someone who was genuinely hoping he’d be at least promoted to AAA for the last six weeks or so: congratulations to the newest Brave!