Spring Training: Braves fall to Yankees, 12-5 (2015)

The Braves bullpen was unable to stop the Yankees’ onslaught on Wednesday. Former Atlanta catcher Brian McCann collected two hits, including a two-run homer in New York’s 12-5 victory.

At the plate: The Braves got a three-run homer from Kelly Johnson that kick-started the offense in the bottom of the fifth, but the Yankees never really stopped piling up runs of their own. New York starter Masahiro Tanaka has now faced Atlanta in both of his spring starts. He followed up two perfect innings last time with 3-2/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday. The Braves had 10 hits on the night, which were oddly enough spread between 10 different batters. Alberto Callaspo and Joey Terdoslavich collected the other two RBI on the night. Second baseman Jace Peterson finished 1-for-4 and has now hit safely in nine of his 11 Grapefruit League games. Freddie Freeman had a hit in three trips and is batting .400 (10-for-25) with four doubles, two homers and seven RBI this spring.

On the mound: If there was one real positive to take away from this game, it would be that hard-throwing Mike Foltynewicz (0-2) had a much better outing in his third start of the spring. He tossed 2-2/3 innings and allowed just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out four men. After struggling through his first two appearances, Foltynewicz needed a solid performance to keep pace with veteran lefties Eric Stults and Wandy Rodriguez in the fifth starter’s race. With Mike Minor sidelined to start the season with shoulder problems, the door was cracked a little wider for the rookie right-hander to grab a spot in the rotation. Foltynewicz utilized a fastball that sat between 93-96 mph and hit 98 mph a few times in his 47 pitch outing. His curveball also seemed to be breaking nicely and the occasional changeup provided Yankee hitters with something else to contend with.

Conversely, it was a rough night for the Atlanta bullpen. Lefty James Russell took the brunt of it, allowing six earned runs on six hits and a walk in 1-2/3 innings of work. He was particularly ineffective against left-handed hitters, a trend that was problematic last season. Four of those six hits allowed were by lefty hitters, including two-run homers by McCann and Stephen Drew.

Arodys Vizcaino did not provide much in the way of relief, allowing an RBI-triple by Didi Gregorius to cap that six-run rally and then surrendering three more runs the following inning. Vizcaino was undone by command issues, including three consecutive walks and a balk which paved the way for New York’s three-run rally in the sixth inning. Jose Veras and Michael Kohn also allowed single runs. On the night, Atlanta relievers walked eight batters and six of those eventually came around to score.

Of note: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Joe West in the top of the sixth inning… In regards to the fifth starter’s race, both Stults and Rodriguez can opt out of their minor league deals if they do not make the big club out of spring training. Left-hander Manny Banuelos, the former Yankees super-prospect who is two years removed from Tommy John surgery, is hoping to follow Foltynewicz’ example and make similar strides in his start against Miami on Thursday. Banuelos was rocked by the Mets (5 ER in 2/3 IP) in his last outing on March 13. Another name to keep in mind for that final rotation spot is 25-year-old righty Cody Martin. He has made two appearances thus far (one start) and worked five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and three walks to go with six strikeouts.

Up Next: Braves vs. Marlins — Thursday, March 19, at 1:05 PM

LHP Manny Banuelos vs. RHP Tom Koehler



Grant McAuley covers the Braves for Sports Radio 92-9 The Game. Follow Grant on Twitter.

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