Braves Fall Short in Kemp Debut

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The Braves and Pirates started up a three game series in Atlanta last night, as the Braves sent Mike Foltynewicz to the mound against Garret Cole of Pittsburgh. Foltynewicz pitched pretty well into the 6th, allowing only 1 earned run through 5 innings of pitching. The Pirates got to him in the 6th, scoring 4 runs and taking care of the Braves by a 5-3 score.

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Tuesday night served as the debut of Matt Kemp, who the Braves acquired July 31st from San Diego in exchange for Hector Olivera. Despite high hopes and a touching newsletter sent by Kemp to the Braves organization and its fans, he did not shine in his debut. Kemp went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts, including the one that ended the game. The other strikeout came with 2 men in scoring position in the bottom of the 7th, Kemp was just one swing away from tying the ball game on a full count until Pirates reliever Neftali Feliz blew a 98 mph fastball by him.

Despite a sub-par debut, Kemp still is a prototypical power hitter that undoubtedly gives the Atlanta lineup some pop that it clearly did not have. On top of that, the Braves put Kemp at cleanup last night and put Freddie Freeman in the three spot. With a little more help from the front office, the placement of Kemp at the cleanup spot can help protect Freeman, as a lot of times this year the veteran first baseman has not gotten much to hit due to the lack of any real threat at the plate behind him. Still, Freeman is arguably the Braves best hitter when he is healthy. The two bats haven’t quite complimented each other yet, as last night the 3 and 4 spots for Atlanta combined for 11 runners left on base and went 0-9. The Braves did not move or acquire anymore players on the August 1st Trade Deadline, so the front office will bring this squad forward for now.

The second game of the three game series against Pittsburgh will feature another debut for the Braves. Right handed pitcher Rob Whalen will make his Major League debut for Atlanta after being called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. Whalen has posted a sub-2 ERA in just three appearances in Gwinnett. The call up comes in lieu of yet another rotation issue for the Braves, this time in their lone all-star Julio Teheran. On Tuesday, Teheran was placed on the 15-day DL with a right lat strain per ESPN. Pirates lefty Jeff Locke will also take the mound tonight with a 7:10 pm first pitch time set.