As the Atlanta Braves work toward the end of spring training, the time starting pitchers are left in the game grows longer.
For the third straight day, a Braves starter worked beyond 75 pitches as R.A. Dickey pitched into the sixth inning Monday against Miami at ESPN Wide World of Sports’ Champion Stadium. Dickey threw 90 pitches, leaving with two down in the sixth.
Those long outings, however, aren’t resulting in wins. Like Bartolo Colon on Saturday and Julio Teheran on Sunday, Dickey’s extended outing went into the books as a loss. The Marlins prevailed 9-3 with Dickey yielding six runs, four earned, as the Braves lost their seventh straight.
The score was less important to the knuckleballer than the high pitch count he was able to post.
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“That’s what spring is for, especially for guys who are established,” Dickey said. “It’s time to make sure your body responds well to getting up and down, throwing 90 pitches and running the bases, getting the bunt, getting the hit. That’s what it’s for for me, making sure mentally I can get up five or six times a game with no problem.
“It was great (Monday). I felt fantastic all day.”
The big inning for Miami was the fourth when it scored four runs on a hit and two errors. One of those errors was charged to Dickey.
Dickey gave up six hits, striking out three and walking three. He also gave up a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna to start the second inning.
Mauricio Cabrera, who went 5-1 with six saves last year as a rookie, struggled in his relief appearance Monday.
Cabrera threw two-thirds of an inning, getting the first two outs of the ninth. But he also gave up two runs on a hit, two walks and a hit batter, yielding both runs on Zach Sullivan’s triple.
The hit batter ended Cabrera’s day.
“He scattered it around (the strike zone) pretty good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s going to have to try to figure some things out on the side. Obviously there’s some mechanical issues going on right now.
“This guy, too, you have to remember that he’s not a polished guy yet. He’s really good, but he’s a young kid. He’s still learning. He’s a young kid with a great arm. He’s probably going to get out of whack every now and then. You stay with him, keep working with him, see if we can get him back in the zone.”
Tale of the losing streak tape
The Braves have allowed five or more runs in each of the seven games of their current skid. They have scored five or more just twice during that stretch, posting six runs in an 8-6 loss to Detroit on Wednesday and scoring five in a 7-5 loss to the Tigers on Saturday.
The Braves moved three players Monday, cutting the number of players in camp to 38.
Early Monday, right-handed pitcher Luke Jackson was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. During the game, catcher Anthony Recker was optioned to Gwinnett and non-roster invitee pitcher John Danks was released.
Rings of honor
The Rome Braves were honored prior to Monday’s big league game, with players receiving their rings for winning last year’s South Atlantic League championship.
Mike Foltynewicz is scheduled to start Tuesday when the Braves travel to West Palm Beach to take on Washington in the lone spring training meeting between the NL East teams.