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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Kyle Wright with an up and down start, big home runs highlight Monday

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The Braves could only whip up one win Monday night in the minors, but there were plenty of highlights.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

There were four teams in action and five games Monday night on the Atlanta Braves farm. Let’s take a look at how it went down in the Braves minor leagues on Monday night.

Norfolk Tide 6, Gwinnett Stripers 5

Box score

  • Drew Waters, RF: 1-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 K
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-for-4
  • Kyle Wright: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 11 K, 2 HBP

Wright came out guns a-blazing, striking out the side in the first. Two came on swinging third strikes and one came looking. Then, Wright had to work.

  • The leadoff hitter reached base in each of the next five innings. Four-straight balls led off the second, and that runner came around to score,
  • A lead-off double in the third inning, who eventually came around to score in a crooked inning,
  • And then he plunked Ryan Mountcastle to lead off the fifth, who came around to score.

He escaped a fourth inning with two runners left on base that probably shouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for some subpar fielding by Jack Lopez and Johan Camargo. Later, he impressively escaped a bases loaded, one-out jam with back-to-back strikeouts to end his night.

You usually hear the same thing when it comes to Wright. He has the stuff, there is simply no denying it, and his 11 strikeouts — 10 of which came swinging — confirm that. But he struggles with consistency and to keep runners off base, and his 10 hits allowed show that. It was more of the same.

He was pounding the strike zone, landing 45 of 68 pitches through four, and he only walked that one batter. But when he missed, he missed and when he was hit, he was hit. The fastball was moving, reportedly at 94 and he used the curve nicely for a strikeout or two, breaking it at 81 on occasion. There was certainly good to go with the big numbers.

Pache and Waters each picked up a hit, both coming in the fifth, with Waters driving in the first run of the game on a double that he aggressively took second on. Andres Blanco delivered the first big blast, smacking a two-run bomb — his 19th of the season — to get Gwinnett closer two-runs closer and Jack Lopez hit the money ball to tie it in the eighth with a two-run homer. Jeremy Walker, who has been so good of late, got tagged for the loss in two innings of relief.

Let’s note that Camargo did have a three-hit night, but made some questionable plays at short. He is hitting .462 with a 1.115 OPS since the demotion.

Probable 8/20 starter: Touki Toussaint

Mississippi Braves, Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Game 1: M-Braves, 1-0 | Box score

Game 2: Blue Wahoos, 4-2 | Box score

  • Riley Unroe, 3B: 3-for-6, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI (combined)
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-for-3, 1 R
  • Jasseel De La Cruz (Game 1): 5 IP. 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

De La Cruz had his second-straight solid outing. He’s now allowed just three hits and no earned runs, while striking out nine and walking three over that span. He wasn’t overly sharp, landing 38 of his 63 pitches for strikes, but he got the job done. Perhaps most out of character was the 4-to-5 ground-to-fly-out ratio. Over De La Cruz’s previous five starts, he proved to be a ground ball heavy pitcher. recording 32 ground outs to 13 fly outs over his last five.

Riley Unroe provided all the offense for the M-Braves in Game 1. He launched a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth that put the Braves ahead for good. It was the only hit in the game. Unroe stayed hot in the second game, racking up two of the M-Braves six hits, with 2019 MLB first-rounder Braden Shewmake picking up two hits as well. Greyson Jenista drove in a run with a sac fly but the Blue Wahoos were able to jump on Ben Rowen and Josh Graham early to take the split.

Probable 8/20 starter: Philip Pfeifer

Florida Fire Frogs — off

Probable 8/20 starter: TBD

Rome Braves — off

Probable 8/20 starter: William Woods

Kingsport Mets 8, Danville Braves 2

Box score

  • Brandon Parker, CF: 1-for-4, 1 HR
  • Ray Hernandez, DH: 2-for-4, 1 R

Danville got its first run of the night via the long ball from Parker. And we mean long ball.

Other than Parker’s blast, Danville combined for five more hits. Cody Milligan, Beau Philip, Charles Reyes and Hernandez pickup the hits, while Mason Berne drove in the second run on a sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, it didn’t matter, as the D-Braves pitchers allowed eight runs in a four-inning span.

Probable 8/20 starter: Lisandro Santos

GCL news and notes:

The GCL Braves played two on Monday and it was rough sailing. They mustered eight combined hits — seven of which were singles — and no runs in 15 innings. Stephen Paolini (OF) hit in both games and now has a hit in seven of his last eight while hitting .310 over his last 10. Vaughn Grissom (SS) actually recorded a goose egg in the hit column in Game 2, something he hadn’t done in his last six games. He did record two singles in Game 1, giving him five multi-hit games in his last seven. Mahki Backstrom (1B) got one hit and one walk on the day, and his OPS now sits at .812.