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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Strider and Muller with strong outings, Cusick overpowers

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Wednesday saw some very good performances from some of the top arms in the Braves system plus more Michael Harris.

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves
Kyle Muller
Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images

Wednesday saw some great outings from some of the top arms in the system including Kyle Muller to Spencer Strider to Ryan Cusick. We also saw Michael Harris produce a strong day across a double header, Cristian Pache reach base three times, a Braden Shewmake homer, and another homer and double out of Drew Lugbauer.

Gwinnett Stripers 4, Louisville Bats 1

Box score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-3, R, BB, .259/.333/.444
  • Eddie Rosario, LF: 1-4, R, 4 RBI, HR
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1-2, 2B, 3.42 ERA

Kyle Muller returned to the minors after a tough game in his last Atlanta outing that came at the end of a strong run, and was dominant. Muller allowed just one unearned run on one hit and three walks over six great innings with four strikeouts. He even added a double in two at bats at the plate in the win. Jesse Biddle, Trevor Kelley, and Dylan Lee each went a scoreless inning out of the pen to close this one out for the Stripers.

The offense was pretty quiet minus a big day for Cristian Pache and a grand slam for a rehabbing Eddie Rosario. Pache went 2-3 with a walk and scored one of the runs, bringing his Triple-A OPS up to .777 after his slow start following his demotion. Rosario hadn’t been having a strong rehab stint to this point, but the grand slam tonight may have been what he needed to get himself going on the right track before his promotion to Atlanta.

Mississippi Braves 7, Montgomery Biscuits 3

Box score

  • CJ Alexander, 3B: 3-4, R, RBI, 2B, SB, .179/.240/.358
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, HR, .243/.349/.494
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-4, R, RBI, BB, HR, .245/.288/.426
  • Spencer Strider, SP: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 5.60 ERA
  • Brooks Wilson, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1.91 ERA

Spencer Strider got the start and looked very good for the most part until he seemed to run out of gas towards the end. Strider gave up three runs on five hits and a walk over five and two thirds innings with seven walks, but that only tells part of the story. Strider held Montgomery scoreless through four and then gave up a solo homer in the fifth inning. It wasn’t until the sixth inning where he started to struggle. This shouldn’t be THAT surprising considering he ended up throwing 98 pitches on the evening. Sean McLaughlin pitched a scoreless inning and a third with a pair of strikeouts while Brooks Wilson and Daysbel Hernandez each threw one scoreless frame with two strikeouts apiece. Combined, the three relievers went three and a third innings scoreless, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out six.

Mississippi’s offense was going strong on Wednesday as they combined to hit four home runs. The stars of the game were CJ Alexander, who went 3-4 with a double and his 10th stolen base of the season, and Drew Lugbauer who doubled and homered in four at bats. Braden Shewmake also homered, going 2-4 with a walk as he continues his hot second half of the season following his disastrous first half. The other pair of homers came from Riley Unroe and Hendrik Clementina. Shea Langeliers went 1-5 in the win.

Greenville Drive 8, Rome Braves 1

Box score

  • Michael Harris, RF: 2-3, R, .301, .793 OPS
  • Jesse Franklin, CF: 2-3, RBI, 2B, .250, .864 OPS
  • Trey Riley, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3.03 ERA

Game 1 of the doubleheader for Rome saw Jake McSteen get the start and go four innings, allowing three runs(one earned). Trey Riley followed with a scoreless inning before Matt Hartman allowed five runs in his two thirds of an inning of work. Ben Dum threw the final inning and a third without allowing a run to put a cap on this one.

The Rome offense didn’t exist in the first game, which isn’t a huge surprise since talented Boston prospect Jay Groome was on the hill. The Braves managed just four hits, all four coming from Michael Harris and Jesse Franklin, who had two apiece. Harris had two singles and a run scored, while Franklin had a single, double, and picked up an RBI.

Greenville Drive 1, Rome Braves 0

Box score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-2, BB, .302/.352/.445
  • Jesse Franklin, RF: 0-3, SB, .247/.316/.539
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 4.88 ERA

Game 2 saw the return of Tanner Gordon in Rome. Gordon made his first six starts of the season here before being demoted to Augusta after his June 4th start. Gordon gave up just one run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts over six innings in a strong effort, but didn’t get the run support to pick up a well deserved win. Justin Yeager came on to pitch a clean inning to close out this loss.

If possible, the offense was even worse in the nightcap of the doubleheader, as the Braves were shutout on two hits. Once again Michael Harris had one of the hits, going 1-2 and drawing a walk to make him 3-5 with a walk and a run scored between the two games. The only other hit came from Garrett Saunders, who tripled and drew a walk in his own 1-2 performance.

Carolina Mudcats 7, Augusta GreenJackets 2

Box score

  • Cade Bunnell, 2B: 2-4, R, 2 2B, .213/.376/.429
  • Willie Carter, LF: 2-4, RBI, SB, .275/.371/.399
  • Ryan Cusick, SP: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.80 ERA
  • Austin Smith, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA

Game two for Ryan Cusick started out much like his pro debut, overmatching Low-A hitters with power stuff. Cusick went two innings, allowing a run on a hit and a pair of walks but striking out four. He didn’t have his best command on the day as he threw nearly as many balls (24) as he did strikes (26). Miguel Pena followed and gave up two runs in his two innings of work. Braves 18th round pick Austin Smith was next and threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts, keeping his ERA at 0.00 and WHIP at 0.88 through 5.2 innings in four appearances. Similar to Cusick the command wasn’t its best on the night, but for a guy who can get it up to nearly triple digits it is too much for Low-A hitters. Ben Thompson got the last two innings and allowed four runs (three earned) in the loss.

There wasn’t a lot of support from the Augusta offense, as they managed two runs on six hits, with four of those six hits coming from two guys. Cade Bunnell went 2-4 with a pair of doubles, while Willie Carter also went 2-4 and stole a base. The other two hits came in the form of doubles from Cal Conley and Landon Stephens.