Well, I got a banger of a day for my first recap this season, with the Braves system going 4-0. Pitching showed out all day, with a few show out offensive performances
(2-0) Gwinnett Braves 4, (0-2) Norfolk Tides 2 F/10
- Mallex Smith, CF: 0-5, 1 K, .200/.200/.500
- Tyler Moore, 1B: 2-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .200/.200/.500
- Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-2, BB, 1 RBI, .167/.375/.167
- Mike Foltynewicz, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 1 K, 2.25 ERA
It was a rough night for Mike Foltynewicz, who walked 5 batters in 4 innings and only threw 36 strikes on 71 pitches. Still, he was able to limit the damage to 2 runs (1 earned), and put Gwinnett in a position to win the game in 10 innings. Mallex Smith also struggled at the plate going 0-5 with a strikeout. On the brighter side of things, Rio Ruiz put up good offensive numbers, and is looking far more comfortable at the plate this year than he did in 2015. He doesn't look overmatched by AAA pitching, and his previously maligned defense has turned into a strength of his.
Gwinnett took an early lead in the second inning, but had that wiped out in the bottom half after a poor inning from Folty and a Daniel Castro error. The game stayed locked at 2 until the 10th inning, when Tyler Moore sent a blast over the left center field fence to score he and Reid Brignac. That clout gave the GBraves a lead that Madison Younginer would hold in the 10th for a 4-2 win and a 2-0 start to the season.
(1-1) Mississippi Braves 2, (1-1) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 0
- Ozzie Albies, SS: 3-4, .375/.375/.375
- Dustin Peterson, LF: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, BB, .286/.375/.571
- Chris Ellis, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0.00 ERA
- Mauricio Cabrera, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA
Mississippi rebounded from a tough loss on Thursday night to dominate the Blue Wahoos with pitching. On the night Mississippi struck out 12 batters while walking 3 and allowing 6 hits. Chris Ellis headlined with a fantastic performance in his first start. Of course, he is the 3rd piece of the Andrelton Simmons deal and is an underconsidered guy when evaluating that deal. Both Kyle Kinman and Matt Marksberry pitched well enough out of the bullpen, and Mauricio was his usual wild but electric self. The big news is Albies rebounded from a opening day that saw him robbed of a hit, with a 3 for 4 night and a deep fly out to the opposite field. He has showed off some improvement in his footwork on throws, which has allowed him to make better and stronger throws than last season.
Finally, Dustin Peterson has continued to impress me offensively and defensively in the early going, looking like a different man than the one who struggled on both sides late last season. The game was scoreless into the sixth before an Albies single, Matt Lipka triple, and Peterson double gave Mississippi a 2-0 lead that they would hold on to. As for an injury update, Connor Lien was removed from Thursday's game with a minor wrist injury, and will be reevaluated in a few days.
(1-1) Carolina Mudcats 5 vs. (1-1) Salem Red Sox 2
- Keith Curcio, CF: 3-5, 3B, RBI, .556/.556/.778
- Dansby Swanson, SS: 0-4, BB, .250/.333/.375
- Braxton Davidson, RF: 1-3, 2B, .143/.250/.286
- Joseph Daris, LF: 2-3, BB, 2 RBI, .429/.500/.571
- Ryan Lawlor, SP: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2.25 ERA
The Mudcats staff was able to effectively shut down a ridiculous Salem Red Sox lineup, holding the prospect trio of Moncada, Benintendi, and Devers to 0-9 with 3 walks. Ryan Lawlor was impressive in his debut despite some control problems, and the bullpen was lights out. The offense had another strong night despite Dansby's lack of production, with Braxton Davidson recording his first hit of the season.
Carolina scored 4 in the 4th inning, after Braxton led off with a hit by pitch. Joey Meneses, Tanner Murphy, and Joseph Daris all got on base in order, bringing up Keith Curcio with the two on and two out. Curcio tripled in both runners, and a throwing error by Moncada allowed him to come around and score himself. The Mudcats added a run in the 9th after Salem had scratched together a couple of runs, and Chase Johnson-Mullins shut it down in 2 innings of work to earn the save.
(2-0) Rome Braves 6 vs. (0-2) Augusta Greenjackets 1
- Ronald Acuna, CF: 0-3, BB, .242/.381/.374
- Austin Riley, 3B: 0-4, 4 K, .365/.387/.506
- Luke Dykstra, 2B: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, .348/.378/.478
- Patrick Weigel, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.50 ERA
Though not as utterly dominating as opening day, Rome still blew Augusta off the field, though not without struggles. Phil Bickford blew this lineup away, and for 14 batters in this game it looked like Rome may be falling. 10 of the first 14 batters were retired by way of strikeout, and all were sent back to the bench, but after Lucas Herbert was hit by a pitch the wheels fell off. Augusta was holding on to their 1 run lead granted by a first inning home run, but watched as Rome scored 5 runs in the 5th, the first two off the bat of Luke Dykstra. The Braves tacked on one more in the 7th, and held from there for a 6-1 win. None of the hitters had a truly tremendous performance, and Austin Riley's night was forgettable to say the least. Still, Jonathan Morales called a good game behind the plate to lend a hand to another dominating pitching performance by the Rome staff.
Patrick Weigel impressed more than any other player tonight, showcasing a hard fastball with nasty bite and a good downward curve that left GreenJackets players struggling to make contact. Matt Custred in his relief appearance definitely shows that he throws hard. The whole "throw it in the strike zone" thing is a work in progress. Still, he displayed some impressive raw stuff and will be a major piece to watch. Now for my chance to brag on Ronald Acuna, he absolutely glides in the outfield. He is as natural as it gets in center field, and will give Connor Lien a run for his money for best defender. He made a play in the gap to end the game that for most center fielders would have been difficult, and he easily got to the ball and made the catch. I have been nothing but impressed and hope to come away even more so after Eric and I spend our weekend in Rome.