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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Muller Exits With Injury; JR Murphy Goes Yard in Debut

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Kyle Muller suffered an injury to his plant leg and left his start after three pitches. JR Murphy hit a home run in a 17 run outburst for the Stripers.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

(66-45) Gwinnett Stripers 17, (58-53) Charlotte Knights 4

Box Score

  • Rafael Ortega, CF: 2-5, 2B, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .292/.380/.543
  • Alex Jackson, DH: 1-6, HR, 2 RBI, .237/.328/.545
  • JR Murphy, C: 1-4, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .250/.319/.539
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.83 ERA

Gwinnett’s offense took up all the runs the system had to offer, and they exploded for the only win in the Braves farm on the day. The Stripers wasted no time jumping out to a lead, with a home run from Ryan LaMarre leading off the night for them. After a single from Sean Kazmar, Ryan Ortega crushed his 21st home run of the season and three batters in Gwinnett was on top 3-0. They added another run on a Pedro Florimon single, before the inning finally came to an end on a fly out from JR Murphy. Charlotte crawled back with a run in the third inning, but Gwinnett answered with doubles from Ortega and Alex Jackson to make it 5-1. Jack Lopez singled to score Jackson and make it 6-1, and then JR Murphy welcomed himself to Gwinnett with a 2 run home run to put the game away early. The Stripers got three runs in the fifth despite only one hit, with two walks, a hit batter, an error, and a balk doing most of the offense’s work. The Stripers had no mercy in them and when they went into the sixth inning they led 11-2. Then, they loaded the bases and Andres Blanco hit a grand slam over the center field wall to really just dig in on the Knights. For funsies, Florimon decided to get in on the action with a sixth inning home run, and Sean Kazmar singled to score the seventeenth and final run of the game. Every starter except Riley Unroe got at least one hit and one RBI, seven of the nine reached base multiple times, and six of the nine had multiple RBIs. Gwinnett continued to increase their lead for the best record in the International League, and now had a 3.5 game lead over the Bulls for the division lead and are 8 games up on the final postseason spot. With 29 games left, they are all but guaranteed a postseason spot. They lead the league in runs scored and are second in home runs with 174.

Bryse Wilson put together a nice start on the mound, completing six innings and holding the Knights to one earned run. Wilson allowed a single in the first inning, but immediately forced a double play to end the frame and turn it over to the offense. Wilson struck out two batters in a scoreless second inning, working around a fielding error that put him in danger with one out. The first run off of Wilson was charged to the defense, as after a leadoff single a ground ball was hit to Pedro Florimon, and Riley Unroe couldn’t catch the ball at first base leading to two runners on with no outs. Wilson got a double play from Nick Madrigal, but the run came in to score. Wilson loaded the bases on singles, all hard hit, in the fifth inning, and a sac fly from Madrigal put the first earned run on the board against Bryse. Wilson finished it off with a 1-2-3 sixth before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Jeremy Walker struggled a bit and allowed a two run home run to Luis Robert in the seventh inning, but finished off his outing with three ground balls and a strike out. Chad Sobotka pitched the ninth and was perfect with one strikeout.

Next Game: 8/3 vs (58-53) Charlotte Knights @ 6:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Huascar Ynoa (8-4, 4.83 ERA)

CHA: Dylan Covey (0-0, 1.85 ERA)

(53-57) Mississippi Braves 1, (48-63) Tennessee Smokies 2

Box Score

  • William Contreras, C: 0-3, .220/.297/.293
  • Drew Waters, LF: 1-4, .321/.367/.484
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 0-4, .278/.339/.476
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3.14 ERA *Left with Injury

Kyle Muller left the game early with an injury, and the offense never showed up as Mississippi lost 2-1. We will get to Muller in a bit, for now we will focus on the offense as usual. The first nine batters of the game for Mississippi had no luck against the Smokies, but Ray-Patrick Didder got the first crack in with a leadoff single in the fourth inning. Didder then stole second base to put Mississippi in a good position to cut into the 2-0 lead Tennessee had opened up, but a strikeout from Drew Waters and a pop out by Cristian Pache cut into those chances. In the bottom of the sixth inning the Braves finally got on the board, with Daniel Lockhart leading off the sixth inning with a home run to make it 2-1. Ray-Patrick Didder singled again later in the inning, but couldn’t come in to score and tie the game. The Braves got another opportunity in the ninth inning, with Drew Waters lining a hard hit single up the middle to lead off the inning. After a pop out from Cristian Pache the Braves got two more hits, but a baserunning error led to Ryan Casteel being thrown out in between second and third base. The Braves were able to load the bases on a walk to Luis Valenzuela, but a strikeout from CJ Alexander ended the opportunity and the Braves lost the game.

Kyle Muller was hurt very early in this game, and before we get started I would like to say that we currently have no information and everything that follows is based on observation and speculation will try to be kept to a minimum. After throwing the second pitch of the inning Muller was clearly in pain and grabbed towards his calf or ankle on his landing leg immediately after throwing the pitch. The pitching coach and head trainer came out to look at Muller, but he was quickly able to assure him that he was fine and the meeting lasted barely a minute and he came back to throw another pitch. Muller was again in obvious pain after this pitch, and walked off of the field under his own power but did not wait for the training staff before making his way towards the dugout. The best hope is that this is nothing more than a cramp for Muller, and their willingness to allow him to stay in the game indicates it likely was not a serious injury, but as of now it seems Muller has a calf/ankle/achilles injury and we’ll keep an eye on his status over the next few days. Connor Johnstone came in out of the bullpen for long relief, and he really have the Braves some valuable work over four innings. Johnstone allowed two runs, only one of those earned, but took the loss in the game. Jonathan Aro pitched three scoreless innings and was able to work around three hits and a walk. Bradley Roney struck out four batters over his two innings of work, and now in his last four outings he has struck out eleven batters in 6 13 inning with two walks and one hit allowed.

Update on Muller:

Next Game: 8/3 vs (48-63) Tennessee Smokies @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Tucker Davidson (6-6, 2.15 ERA)

TNS: TBD

(41-67) Florida Fire Frogs, (42-64) Jupiter Hammerheads PPD

Next Game: 8/3 vs (42-64) Jupiter Hammerheads @ 3:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

FLO: Hayden Deal (3-9, 3.13 ERA)

JUP: TBD

(50-56) Rome Braves 2, (50-56) Hagerstown Suns 4

Box Score

  • Shea Langeliers, C: 1-4, .218/.281/.331
  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-2, BB, HBP, SB, .280/.392/.428
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-2, RBI, .321/.385/.449
  • William Woods, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3.90 ERA

The Rome offense didn’t get a whole lot going in the game, and the Braves lost 4-2. Rome got on the board first in the top of the first inning, with Justin Dean sparking early runs. He led off the game with a single into left field, then stole second base and came in to score on a single from Braden Shewmake. Shea Langeliers followed those two with a hit to put rtwo runners on with one out, but Greg Cullen lined into a double play and the inning was snuffed out. Hagerstown took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning, and Rome would never lead again. After that Langeliers single nine consecutive Rome Braves were set down, but Cullen broke that streak with his eighth home run of the season to tie the game back up at two. Dating back to June 28th Cullen has hit .275/.431/.412 with more walks (20) than strikeouts (17) in his 130 plate appearances. Rome had another opportunity to score in the sixth inning when Dean was hit by a pitch to lead off and Drew Campbell walked to put two runners on with no outs. A sacrifice bunt followed for Braulio Vazquez, who came in to play in place of Braden Shewmake who was ejected for arguing after being called out on strikes. With two runners in scoring position and one out Rome couldn’t get that run home, with strikeouts from Langeliers and Cullen ending their inning. The Braves got two more hits in the top of the ninth inning, then a walk from Brendan Venter to load the bases with two outs, but Carlos Paraguate flied out to end the game.

William Woods and Ryan Shetter split the time on the mound in this game, and it was Woods who gave up a majority of the damage on the scoreboard though neither were helped by the defense. Woods was given a 1-0 lead after the first inning, but he quickly gave that back to Hagerstown. Woods hit the first batter he faced with a pitch, then allowed a home run with one out that gave the Suns the lead. Woods worked around some trouble in the third inning thanks to Shea Langeliers throwing out two attempted base stealers, giving Shea eleven caught stealing in twenty five attempts this season. After allowing a walk and a hit with one out the Braves had a chance to get a double play and get out of the inning, but a throwing error from Paraguate allowed a run to come in and the Braves would never tie the game after that. Shetter had a decent outing and through the first four innings didn’t allow any runs, but in the eighth inning a ground ball to Venter should have ended the inning, but Venter couldn’t make the play and the next batter doubled to score a run.

Next Game: 8/3 vs (56-55) West Virginia Power @ 6:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Odalvi Javier (3-7, 3.56 ERA)

WV: Devin Sweet (5-4, 3.04 ERA)

(16-27) Danville Braves 2, (25-14) Princeton 4

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, 2B: 1-4, .254/.384/.303
  • Beau Philip, DH: 0-3, BB, .156/.280/.254
  • Mitch Stallings, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, 2.49 ERA

Mitch Stallings tied his career high with eleven strikeouts in a masterful performance, but his offense and bullpen snaked him and he took a loss. Danville did not have a great day all around with three errors on defense, but they managed to get as many hits as Princeton but just couldn’t push runs home when they needed to. Cody Birdsong and Brandon Chapman both singled in the bottom of the second inning, but consecutive strikeouts ended that threat and they took a then 1-0 deficit into the third inning. That score held as both teams traded zeroes, and through the seventh inning the Braves had only added one more hit and couldn’t push him in to score. The eighth went off the rails and Danville found themselves trailing by four runs in their final at bat of the day. A hit batter led off the inning, but on a Ray Hernandez double he was thrown out trying to score for the first out. After a walk and a strikeout the Braves were down to their final out when Charles Reyes lined a single into center field to score both runs and cut the deficit to 4-2. A walk put the tying run on base, but a ground out ended the threat and the game with a 4-2 loss.

Mitch Stallings carried the Braves on his back in this game working around a lack of run support to keep the team in it during his seven innings of work. His start got off to a shaky beginning when he allowed two hits to score a run after getting just one out, but he settled in and was rock solid for the rest of his start. After allowing that run scoring his Stallings retired the next eighteen batters in a row to keep it at 1-0. Stallings struck out ten of those eighteen batters, peaking in the fourth inning when he struck out the side on eleven pitches throwing only one ball (his first pitch of the inning) and allowing only one foul ball. Stallings had a bit of trouble in his final inning and allowed two more hits, but got a strikeout and a ground out to preventh any damage and turned the ball over to his bullpen. Stallings leads qualified Appy League starters in ERA at 2.49, leads the league in innings with 47, and strikeouts with 57 (twelve more than any other player). Kenny Wells came in to relieve and the game slipped away as he allowed three hits and two walks to score three runs before being pulled with two outs. Alex Segal allowed a couple of walks in his 1 13 innings of work, and tiptoed around an error in the ninth to keep the game at 4-0.

Next Game: 8/3 vs (20-22) Princeton Rays @ 6:30 PM ET

Probable Starters

DAN: Darius Vines (0-2, 5.74 ERA)

PRN: TBD

(11-18) GCL Braves 5, (14-16) GCL Rays 6 F/10

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, DH: 1-3, 2 BB, .257/.333/.416
  • Kadon Morton, RF: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI, .196/.274/.393
  • Mahki Backstrom, 1B: 2-5, .320/.346/.360
  • Jared Johnson, SP: 2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 5.14 ERA

The GCL Braves got offensive production throughout their lineup and put up five runs, but couldn’t hold on in extra innings and lost on a walk off. Starter Jared Johnson struggled in the two innings he threw, and in the first inning allowed a run on a couple of walks and a single. Johnson got into a jam in the second on three ground ball singles that scored two runs, before allowing a final single to give up his fourth run of the game. The Braves got within a run in the third inning on a home run from Kadon Morton, the first of his career. The Braves went into the top of the seventh inning trailing 3-3, then a couple of singles put Vaughn Grissom and Cade Bunnell on base. A throwing error brought in the first run to score, and then a single from Eliezel Stevens scored Grissom and tied the game at five.

That score hung until the tenth, when despite getting hits from Mahki Backstrom and Joel Reyes the Braves made two outs on the basepaths and were unable to score the run. A throwing error in the bottom of the tenth by Darling Florentino allowed the Rays to walk the game off. Michael Harris had one hit in five at bats on the day, extending his hitting streak to ten games. He has reached base at least once in every single one of his 23 starts this season, having only failed to get on base in his two pinch hitting appearances. Vaughn Grissom reached base twice and in his past nine games has as many walks as strikeouts with four each in 38 plate appearances.