I had the pleasure of going to tonight's Richmond Braves game at The Diamond in Richmond, VA. It was an absolute beat-down by the Braves. The Braves looked good and Syracuse was just a miserably bad team in every facet of the game. I took my seat (ten bucks for a ticket was nice) about eleven rows back between the Braves dugout and home plate. Quickly I saw a couple scouts situated with their radar guns behind home plate and decided to move to an empty seat behind them. Trey Hodges got the start allowing only one hit and two walks in five innings. His fastball was right around 90 mph all game and the secondary stuff was nothing to write home about. He seemed to miss just about every time with his breaking ball.†He just doesn't have the stuff to get major league hitters out. Rich Scalamandre, the player we acquired for Jorge Sosa last year, worked two scoreless innings in relief and again, I just wasn't all too impressed. He threw mostly fastballs and the secondary just wasn't much. Buddy Hernandez pitched the eighth and was the only Braves pitcher to get hit hard. I know we had a mailbag about him but he was throwing meatballs and two got absolutely destroyed, but one went for a longout. I was hoping to see both Will Startup and Manny Acosta but Acosta was the only one who pitched. This guy is going to be quite a middle reliever down the road. He's a big, tall, lanky guy and was gunning it up between 93-96 in his one inning. He threw nothing but fastballs but it worked. He cracked a bat on a little grounder and picked up a strikeout as well. He seemed to have a great presence on the mound.
The offense was good an aided by four errors by Syracuse, the Jays triple-A affiliate. Gregor Blanco, Doug Clark, Graham Koonce, and Iker Franco just looked overmatched at the plate. I was excited to see Blanco but right now he wouldn't be able to succeed in the majors. Cross him off the list of potential centerfielders. Martin Prado had a good game in the field and at the plate. He doesn't have enough power to be an everyday player but I think he'll make a very good utility man. Brayan Pena got the start at first and was on his game tonight. He went 3/5 with a double and he reached on an error, but every ball he hit just jumped off the bat. Scott Thorman probably has until the break to start hitting and then I think Brayan Pena could take his place. A guy that could get a look is Larry Bigbie, who the Braves signed earlier this season. He looked good at the plate with good plate discipline and a couple hard hit balls. Victor Zambrano got the start and was pretty much horrible. I was at the game where he threw out his arm and his command was beyond bad in this game.
I was hoping to see Brent Lillibridge but I didn't see him anywhere. I had a chance to ask where he was from Dan Smith, Brayan Pena (very imposing in person for a pretty short guy), Larry Bigbie, Doug Clark, Blaine Boyer (really nice guy), and Wes Timmons after the game but I just had to wait for the last player out. I asked Manny Acosta, who barely spoke any English,†where Lillibridge was. I think he told me†Brent wasn't with the team but I am†still trying to figure out what exactly he said to me.†I took a couple pictures and hopefully some of them came out so I'll post those in a couple days.