Braves’ Smyly encouraged by final spring tune-up

Braves starting pitcher Drew Smyly delivers in an exhibition game on March 3 at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. (File photo by Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Braves starting pitcher Drew Smyly delivers in an exhibition game on March 3 at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla. (File photo by Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Drew Smyly, slated to start the fourth game of the season for the Braves, got his final tune-up in Tuesday’s spring training finale.

He pitched 4-2/3 innings in the Braves’ 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla, allowing two runs (both unearned) on six hits to lower his spring ERA to 3.29. He struck out four and walked none.

“I thought my fastball command was really good, the best it has been this spring, so that was encouraging,” Smyly said after the game. “The last few times out, I had the curveball going. Today, I had the curveball and the fastball, so that helps. I’m just continuing to work on my cutter and getting that more in the zone. But I’m happy with how the spring went.”

Smyly, a veteran left-hander signed by the Braves as a free agent during the offseason, held the Red Sox scoreless through four innings, but a one-out error by shortstop Ehire Adrianza started some difficulty in the fifth. Smyly then surrendered a one-out double to deep center field by Jarren Duran and a two-out two-run single to deep right field by J.D. Martinez.

Other notes from Tuesday:

-- The Braves finished spring training with a 15-13 record in exhibition games.

-- Another day, more good defensive plays by starting center fielder Cristian Pache. Said shortstop Dansby Swanson: “Pache is unbelievable in center. I think that he’s definitely going to be able to compete offensively, but defensively he is one of the better center fielders I’ve probably seen. He can throw, go track them down, just understands the game defensively.”

-- Pache had a good day offensively, too, with a double, two walks, an RBI, two runs scored and no strikeouts. He was 1-for-2, finishing Grapefruit League play with a .184 batting average.

-- Although the Braves committed two errors Tuesday (one by Adrianza and the other by Johan Camargo), the team’s overall defense has impressed Smyly throughout the spring. “It’s cool to look behind you and see so many good fielders,” he said. “When you know you’ve got good defense behind you, it makes pitching way easier. You can just attack, be really aggressive, throw it in the zone and let them put it in play.”

-- Swanson played Tuesday after being scratched from the lineup the day before with right-calf tightness. He finished the spring with a .308 batting average.