It was a good night overall for the Atlanta Braves’ minor league affiliates as they went 2-2 overall and they got some good performances from top level prospects including one in particular that needed a good game. Lets get into the Braves’ minor league games from Friday.
Gwinnett Stripers 8, Nashville Sounds 7 - F/10
- Orlando Arcia, SS: 3-5, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI, .974 OPS
- Cristian Pache, CF: 1-5, 2 R, SB, .872 OPS
- Jasseel de la Cruz, SP: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 6.28 ERA
- Jesse Chavez, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2.25 ERA
The Gwinnett Stripers rallied after being down 6-0 early in this game to force extra innings and win a pretty wild game by the score of 8-7. This was just not Jasseel de la Cruz’s night as he got torched in the third inning including giving up a grand slam to give the Sounds a 6-0 lead. After a really solid start to the season, de la Cruz has struggled mightily as he has given up four or more earned runs in four of his past five starts and has seen his ERA jump from 1.04 on May 19th to 6.28 ERA as his command has gotten away from him. Hat tip to the Gwinnett bullpen as Dylan Lee, Mitch Horacek, Ty Tice, and Jesse Chavez combined for 5.2 innings of scoreless relief to give the Gwinnett offense a fighting chance to catch up. Yoan Lopez was less good as he gave up a pair of hits in the 10th inning and allowed the runner that started on second base to score, but overall the bullpen came up big when the Stripers needed them.
On offense, yet again it was the Orlando Arcia show as he went 3-5 including connecting for his 11th home run of the season. While he has cooled off a bit from that crazy start to the season he had, Arcia has remained very productive of late as he has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games and currently ranks eighth in the league in OPS just ahead of some guy named Wander Franco. Travis Snider connected for his second home run of the season as he looks to turn his disappointing 2021 season around. The Gwinnett offense really got the most help from the Nashville defense as they made three errors on the evening including on the final play of the game that sealed the win for Gwinnett as Keston Hiura made a throwing error on a potential double play that allowed Arcia to score the game-winner.
Next Game: 6/19 vs. Nashville at 6:05 PM EST. Starting Pitchers: Both TBD
Mississippi Braves 8, Birmingham Barons 4
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 3-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R, .493 OPS
- Tyler Neslony, RF: 1-3, RBI, BB
- Nolan Kingham, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 2.64 ERA
- Troy Bacon, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2.16 ERA
This was a fun one as Mississippi jumped all over Birmingham early in the game and ended up winning handily by the score of 8-4. Nolan Kingham has been getting some love here lately, but it is worth giving him some more because after an okay start to the season, he has turned things up a notch in the month of June. He has given up three earned runs total in 25.1 total innings this month (four starts) while walking exactly two batters against 14 strikeouts. He doesn’t always fill up the stat sheet with swings and misses, but he gets a lot of weak ground balls and short, quick innings that allow him to pitch deep into games. Definitely a guy worth keeping an eye even if his ceiling is somewhat limited. Troy Bacon was excellent in relief yet again before Emmanuel Ramirez had one of those days that he would probably prefer to forget as Birmingham added a couple runs to inch closer before Sean McLaughlin came in and stopped the bleeding. Daysbel Hernandez, who got the ninth for Mississippi, continued his pattern of looking awesome one night and really not the next as he got tagged for a couple of runs himself before getting his third strikeout of the inning to close the game out.
This was the game that Braden Shewmake needed as he really showed out on Friday night. He had been showing signs at the plate that improvement has been happening, but he had his best game of the season with a three hit night including a home run and a double. He still has a ways to go to get those season averages back to respectable, but some progress seems to have been made. The rest of the offense was a balanced effort as Justin Dean, Wendell Rijo, and Tyler Neslony all had RBI in the game. The Barons also did their part as three Mississippi runs were scored on wild pitches...it is definitely helpful to have speed on your team when the other pitcher is send balls into the dirt and to the backstop.
Next Game: 6/19 vs. Birmingham at 7:05 PM EST. Starting Pitchers: Mississippi - Hayden Deal, Birmingham - TBD
Rome Braves 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 7 - F/11
- Michael Harris, CF: 2-6, 2B, R, .804 OPS
- Jesse Franklin, RF: 3-4, 2B, RBI, BB, R, .819 OPS
- Spencer Strider, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 2.45 ERA
- Indigo Diaz, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.93 ERA
Rome had a three run lead early in the game and got an absolutely gem thrown by Spencer Strider, but some bad bullpen work and defense in the eighth inning allowed Bowling Green to force extra innings and ultimately prevail in the 11th by the score of 7-5. Spencer Strider is a bad, bad man. Other than a solo homer that he gave up in the fourth inning. Strider had flawless start as he went six innings on 85 pitches while striking out an astonishing 12 batters. In 30 innings this season, Strider has racked up 56 strikeouts against just 11 walks thanks largely to his stellar fastball with great rise that he attacks the top of the zone with. Once Strider was out of the game, Bowling Green began to chip away at Rome’s lead as both Gabriel Noguera and Coleman Huntley allowed runs to cross the plate in the eighth inning. In fairness, the biggest issue in that inning was a pair of errors from Kevin Josephina that led directly to a pair of runs scoring. Indigo Diaz did his thing in the 10th (season ERA is down to 0.93 ERA now...he really needs a promotion), but Tyler Ferguson made his first appearance since 2018 in the 11th and...well, it did not end well for Rome.
The offense on Friday night for Rome was a pretty balanced as eight of the nine batters in the lineup had hits and five different players drove in runs. Michael Harris added two more hits to his ledger as he continues to impress with his hit tool and we continue to wonder when he will start drawing some walks. Jesse Franklin continued his nuclear June with three more hits as he now possesses the highest OPS on the team amongst qualified hitters...just like we all predicted. The team left a lot of runners on base, though, which is particularly painful when you consider how good Strider was and that this game went to extra innings.
Next Game: 6/19 vs. Bowling Green at 6 PM EST. Starting Pitchers: Rome - Bryce Elder, Bowling Green - Michael Mercado
Augusta GreenJackets 0, Columbia Fireflies 5
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-4, .753 OPS
- Ricardo Rodriguez, C: 1-3, .814 OPS
- Jared Johnson, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 6.35 ERA
We won’t linger long on this game as Augusta’s offense did not show up again and Columbia won this one handily by the score of 5-0. It is worth mentioning, though, that Jared Johnson did look good and was even better than his line indicated. The run he gave up was due to some bad BABIP luck on a grounder that hit him and another that got past the first baseman on a play that probably gets made in the higher levels of the minors. The command did seem to wane, but his fastball was 96-98 mph and the rest of the arsenal showed flashes of being quite good.
As for the offense, well...there really wasn’t any as Augusta managed just three singles on the evening. This is usually a team that draws a good number of walks and when they only get one in addition to getting just three hits...well, the results are to be expected.
Next Game: 6/19 @ Columbia at 6:35 PM EST. Starting Pitchers: Augusta - TBD, Columbia - Matt Stil