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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 5/28: Dansby Swanson Homers, Rob Whalen dominates

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Mississippi had a great day, as Dansby Swanson and Rob Whalen both played great games. Rome had an offensive explosion, and Manny Banuelos made a good rehab start for Gwinnett.

Rob Whalen
Rob Whalen pitched 6 strong innings today, and is one of the hottest pitchers in the system
Garrett Spain

(24-26) Gwinnett Braves 5, (26-21) Syracuse Chiefs 6

Box Score

Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-2, 2 HBP, .258/.348/.358

Ronnier Mustelier, LF: 2-3, BB, .263/.331/.355

Ozzie Albies, SS: 1-5, RBI, .229/.264/.362

Manny Banuelos, SP: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.45 ERA

Well Gwinnett’s bullpen did the thing Braves bullpens are best at, and after taking a lead with a 5 run 7th inning the GBraves lost 5-4. That 7th inning started out with just an infield single by Rio Ruiz, and 2 hits later the GBraves had loaded the bases with one out for Blake Lalli. Lalli knocked a base hit to score 2, his first RBIs since May 6th and first multi-RBI game since April 26th. After a pitching change, Ozzie Albies greeted the next pitcher with a run scoring base hit, and after a wild pitch Emilio Bonifacio was able to score both Lalli and Albies with a double.

Manny Banuelos gave up a first inning home run after an Albies error, but from there he shut down the Chiefs in his best start in a long time. He kept walks down, strikeouts up, and runners off the base paths, 3 things he struggled to do all together in the past. The first 2 innings of the bullpen were shut down with Jim Johnson and Rob Wooten pitching, but things began to unravel from there. Lucas Harrell only got 1 out, and allowed 2 runs in the 7th inning, but fortunately Dario Alvarez came in to strike out 2 of the 3 batters he faced to end the inning. Banuelos was let off the hook by that 5 run inning, and Gwinnett brought on Kanekoa Texeira to close the game. Texeira has saved exactly 2 games in his last 5 years, and it didn’t go all too well for Gwinnett. He gave up the run and blew the save in the 8th inning, and was brought on for a second inning and gave up the go ahead run that put the Chiefs over the top.

Next Game: 5/30 vs (26-21) Syracuse Chiefs @ 2:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Tyrell Jenkins (5-2, 3.02 ERA)

SYR: Paolo Espinosa (2-4, 3.54 ERA)

Tyrell Jenkins missed having a chance at being called up by virtue of pitching one day too late (because of a rain out when it didn’t rain), and responded by flashing an improved curveball and striking out 9 batters in 6 innings his last time out.

(22-27) Mississippi Braves 6, (22-26) Jacksonville Suns 2

Box Score

Dansby Swanson, SS: 2-4, HR, .294/.374/.477

Dustin Peterson, LF: 0-4, .255/.327/.418

Mel Rojas Jr., RF: 2-2, 2B, RBI, .213/.269/.319

Rob Whalen, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 3.04 ERA

Dansby Swanson lost his hitting streak last game, but started anew tonight with a home run in his first at bat of the game. That gave Mississippi a lead, and they never did trail in this game. The Braves scored 2 each in the first 4, and added individual runs in the 4th and 6th, to score 6 runs for the first time since May 6th. Jordy Lara homered in the game, his 3rd of the season and Mississippi’s 5th at home by someone not named Dustin Peterson.

Rob Whalen was dominant in tonight’s start, allowing nothing but unearned runs and striking out 8 batters in 6 innings. He has a 2.43 ERA in May, and has posted a Game Score of 60 or better in 4 of his last 5 starts, peaking at 66 tonight. The rest of the staff shut down the Suns as well, starting with Mauricio Cabrera. While Cabrera didn’t strike anyone out, he didn’t walk anybody and threw 16 of 22 pitches for strikes. Madison Younginer bounced back from a rough last outing to pitch a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts to end the day.

Next Game: 5/29 vs (22-26) Jacksonville Suns @ 2:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: TBD (Brandon Barker is listed, but I’m 99% sure that isn’t gonna happen)

JAX: Patrick Johnson (1-1, 5.72 ERA)

(19-28) Carolina Mudcats 1, (24-24) Frederick Keys 4

Box Score

Joseph Odom, DH: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .280/.344/.432

Braxton Davidson, RF: 1-2, 2 BB, .219/.303/.318

Ryan Clark, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 6.38 ERA

There were no real notable performances on offense tonight, although Joseph Odom was by far the best hitter on the team. He recorded 2 of the 4 hits, and knocked in the only run on the game. Braxton Davidson looked OK for a few games, but has lulled back into struggling going 0-5 with 3 strikeouts in his last 2 games. After his last out, Davidson was removed from the game.

Ryan Clark started out strong in this one, with 5 really good innings of work. After 5, Clark had not allowed a run, walked one, struck out 4, and only allowed 3 hits. He allowed a home run in the 6th to let the Keys tie the game, and then allowed the first 2 runners to reach in the 7th before being taken out. A base hit and a passed ball allowed both runners to score and put a slight damper on what was a good step in the right direction for Clark. Michael O’Neal allowed 1 unearned run in an inning of work, and Carlos Salazar worked 2 scoreless without walking anyone.

Next Game: 5/29 vs (24-24) Frederick Keys 6:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

CAR: Enderson Franco (3-2, 5.48 ERA)

FRD: Matthew Grimes (6-2, 1.39 ERA)

Enderson Franco is coming off of his best start as a Brave, but will draw a tough opponent with Matthew Grimes, who leads the Carolina League in wins and is second in ERA.

(20-29) Rome Braves 9, (23-25) Greenville Drive 8

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 2-4, .235/.285/.371

Jonathan Morales, C: 1-3, BB, 2 RBI, .299/.337/.402

Ray-Patrick Didder, CF: 2-4, 2B, BB, .287/.389/.404

Patrick Weigel, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 3.42 ERA

Finally there were some runs for Rome, who had their best 9 inning offensive output since April 21. The charge was led by the 3 you would expect to contribute, with Riley, Morales, and Didder contributing 5 of the 10 hits, 3 of the 6 RBIs, and 5 of the 9 runs scored. The damage was done mostly in the 1st and 5th inning with 4 runs in each. Justin Ellison added 2 RBIs of his own, becoming the 3rd man to reach 20 RBIs for Rome (Dykstra, Morales). Luke Dykstra had the walk off play(?), on an attempted double play that turned into a throwing error allowing Leudys Baez to score the winning run.

Patrick Weigel had a rough outing from a runs standpoint, but that doesn’t really show the tale of his game. He was not at all helped by his defense, and managed to limit contact all game. The only extra base hit he allowed was a double, and he struck out 8 batters in his 5 innings of work. In his last 3 games, Weigel has struck out 22 batters in 16.1 IP, bringing him to 58 in 55.1 innings this season. He left the game trailing by 2, but was cleared from the books by that 4 run 5th inning. Grayson Jones had his worst outing of the season, and gave the lead back up, giving way for Chad Sobotka. Sobotka pitched the final 3 innings scoreless, striking out 3 and walking one to earn the win. Since returning from the DL, Sobotka has not allowed a run in 8 innings pitched.

Next Game: 5/29 vs (23-25) Greenville Drive 2:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Max Fried (2-3, 4.98 ERA)

GVL: Logan Boyd (4-4, 6.23 ERA)