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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Spencer Strider Makes Terrific Rome Debut

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Spencer Strider may not be human and Cristian Pache showed his potential in Gwinnett

NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 03 Vanderbilt v Clemson Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It was a rough and winless night on the Atlanta Braves farm system, but Michael Harris gave us a taste of his potential in Rome and Spencer Strider gave us the whole meal with his start. Cristian Pache had two doubles in a strong showing for Gwinnett, and Kyle Wright had a decent inning outside of one frame. There was little to cheer for, but it was still an interesting night with a few important notes and plays.

(15-14) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (18-11) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 8

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 3-6, 2 2B, 2 RBI, .357/.357/.571
  • Jason Kipnis, 2B: 1-4, BB, .231/.429/.346
  • Johan Camargo, 3B: 1-5, RBI, .283/.427/.483
  • Kyle Wright, SP: 6 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 4.26 ERA
  • Jay Flaa, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 4.26 ERA

Gwinnett made a furious late comeback to tie up the game against the Jumbo Shrimp, but couldn’t complete the task and fell in extra innings. Cristian Pache had a good day at the plate and he got the scoring started in the first inning. He led off with a single into right field, then after a single by Jason Kipnis, he trotted home on a double play to give Gwinnett a 1-0 lead. That was all the offense Gwinnett had for quite a while, as following that Kipnis single, no other batter reached base until Johan Camargo with two outs in the sixth inning. After the Stripers turned a triple play in the eight inning they seemed to wake up, with Ryan Casteel leading off the bottom of the frame with a single. Pache followed that with the first of his doubles, and a ground out and wild pitch brought both runners home to make it 5-3. In the ninth, a leadoff single brought the tying run to the plate, but two quick outs had the Stripers on the ropes. Pinch hitter Orlando Arcia drew a walk to give the Stripers another runner, and Pache came through with a massive hit to score both runners. Gwinnett couldn’t cash in one more big hit. In extra inning Alex Jackson made a marvelous play to pick off the runner at second base and the Stripers got through the top of the 10th clean, but three strikeouts stranded the bases loaded. Jacksonville got three in the 11th, the Stripers went 1-2-3, and despite having multiple big opportunities to win they came up short.

Kyle Wright was the starter for the Stripers Saturday, and it was a bit of a good news, bad news start. The good news is that Wright struck out seven batters and kept the ball in the zone to only allow one walk. The bad news is that he also allowed two home runs. Wright worked around a triple in a scoreless first inning, but a leadoff double in the second put him in peril quickly. He got two strikeouts to get back in control of the game, but after hitting a batter, he allowed a base hit that tied the game. Wright finished off the inning with a strikeout. The third was the implosion inning for Wright, as an error to lead off the frame led to him unraveling a bit. The next batter crushed a two-run home run to make it 3-1, then after Wright recorded his first out, he issued a free pass before a second home run in the inning pushed it to 5-1. He allowed another hit, but got out of the inning with a double play and cruised the rest of the way. He allowed one more hit but erased it with a double play and retired the final five batters he faced in the game. He needed only nineteen pitches to get through the final two innings, only threw four balls, and got ahead of the four of the six batters. Chasen Bradford pitched two innings of scoreless relief and dropped his ERA on the season to 0.68. Jay Flaa pitched a perfect ninth inning on only eleven pitches. Trevor Kelley was lights out in the tenth inning but allowed a double and a two run home run in the eleventh to take the loss.

Next Game: 6/6 vs (18-11) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp @ 1:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Jasseel De La Cruz (0-0, 3.12 ERA)

JAX: TBD

(14-15) Mississippi Braves 1, (18-11) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4

Box Score

  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-4, .101/.149/.169
  • Trey Harris, RF: 0-4, .226/.321/.269
  • CJ Alexander, 3B: 0-4, .222/.276/.444
  • Jose Rodriguez, SP: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.53 ERA
  • Troy Bacon, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0.66 ERA

Mississippi put together a tremendously weak offensive performance on Shea Langeliers’s day off. The first six batters of the game were set down with ease before Greyson Jenista breathed a little life into the team with a leadoff third inning home run. That tied the game, but the Braves came through with nothing else on the offensive end. Braden Shewmake had one of his best games of the season. His first at bat of the game was a hard hit ball up the middle that the pitcher caught behind his back, cuz that’s just how it goes when you slump. In his second at bat he ripped a line drive the other way that just creeped over a leaping shortstop for a hit. That’s about all the positive offensive notes I have, because the rest of the team looked pretty pitiful.

Jose Rodriguez made another start for Mississippi, and early on he really put up a strong performance. He allowed a run on a couple of hits in the second inning, but otherwise blanked the Blue Wahoos through five innings to keep the struggling MBraves offense in the game. He was run out for one more in the sixth inning and that proved too much, as he allowed a two out, two run home run to give Pensacola a lead they would never relent. Brooks Wilson walked the first batter he faced in relief, but that guy was cut down trying to steal. Wilson came out for the seventh and struck out the side in order to lower his ERA on the season to 2.13. Wilson has 19 strikeouts over 12 23 innings this season, but is held back by his 10 walks allowed in that time. Troy Bacon finally allowed his first run of the season in his one inning of relief.

Next Game: 6/6 @ (18-11) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 5:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: TBD

PNS: Jake Eder (1-1, 0.45 ERA)

(15-14) Rome Braves 5, (18-11) Bowling Green Hot Rods 7

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-3, 2B, BB, SB, .352/.372/.500
  • Bryce Ball, 1B: 1-2, RBI, .210/.340/.383
  • Logan Brown, C: 2-3, 2B, 4 RBI, .233/.253/.367
  • Spencer Strider, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K. 2.25 ERA
  • Merrick Crouse, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 8.68 ERA

Spencer Strider made a fantastic debut for the Rome Braves, but it was not meant to be as the bullpen allowed six runs in the Braves 7-5 loss. Michael Harris made the first Braves run happen with his legs, reaching on a misplayed hopper to the second baseman then stealing second base and scoring on a single from Bryce Ball. That single from ball was the last hit the Braves had until Harris came up to bat next, and this time up he ripped a double the opposite way to put the Braves in business still holding a 1-0 lead. A ground out and a sacrifice fly from Logan Brown scored Harris and put Rome up 2-0. The next Harris at bat was a hard line out to shortstop, but like the rest of the Braves lineup he came up empty as they fell behind 7-2.

In the eighth inning Andrew Moritz and Riley Delgado each came through with hits, bringing up the middle of the lineup with a big opportunity to cut into the deficit. Harris, finally, after 73 plate appearances without one, drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases with one out. Garrett Saunders, who came in to replace Bryce Ball who left in the fourth for unknown reasons, flew out to right field. Logan Brown came up with two outs, and delivered an opposite field double to clear the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. Rome couldn’t cash any more runs in and did the same in the ninth falling 7-5.

Spencer Strider was not entirely himself on the mound, but it didn’t really matter much as he once again put on a show with eight strikeouts over four innings in his debut at High-A. Strider started the game out with three strikeouts in the first inning, then two more in the second to establish that he is going to be a menace at this level as well. Strider struggled early in this inning and walked the first two batters, and that kind of became a theme for him all day. His command wasn’t as crisp as it has been, and especially so in regards to his slider, but he still managed to succeed despite lacking his best location. Strider seemed to struggled with footing the whole game, and was working on his landing spot on the mound on a few occasions. Strider only had one strikeout in the third inning, and the two batted balls were weak pop ups that posed no threat.

The fourth was the inning the Hot Rods broke through, as he hit the first batter of the inning. Strider got to two outs thanks to a strike out and weak ground out, but a walk and then the second hit of the game off of him scored a run. Strider finished out the start exactly how you would expect, dominating the final batter on a slider in the dirt for strike three. Strider was a little bit lower on velocity this game, according to the stadium radar gun which could very well be inaccurate, but also wouldn’t be surprising if he is trying to work deeper into games. He touched 98 at one point, and was holding mid 90s late into the outing even as fatigue started to clearly set in with regards to his command. Strider got 17 swings and misses for a 56.7% whiff rate. Coleman Huntley had been solid coming into this outing this season, but he allowed two home runs and six runs over his two innings to work to take his first loss of the season. Marrick Crouse pitched two perfect innings and struck out three batters in one of his occasional flashes of brilliance. When he can keep the ball in the zone he has real talent, but that skill has eluded him on many occasions this season.

Next Game: 6/6 @ (18-11) Bowling Green Hot Rods @ 6:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: TBD

BG: Joe LaSorsa (1-0, 2.92 ERA)

(12-17) Augusta GreenJackets 0, (18-11) Charleston Riverdogs 7 F/5

Box Score

  • Cade Bunnell, 2B: 1-2, 2B .217/.398/.458
  • Willie Carter, RF: 0-2, .326/.431/.453
  • Vaughn Grissom, 3B: 0-2, .253/.348/.342
  • Alec Barger, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.29 ERA
  • Estarlin Rodriguez, RP: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 6.61 ERA

The rain made sure this game didn’t get past the fifth inning, and really that was probably for the best as it was not a performance that any of us wanted to see extended. The high point of the game for Augusta was a two out double from Cade Bunnell in the third inning, otherwise they were handily dominated on the offensive end. The GreenJackets struck out ten times in 18 plate appearances.

Pitching for Augusta was a little more fun, I guess, at least we saw some potential from Alec Barger. Barger struggled with his command off the rip, which happens for him on occasion, and he hit one batter and walked another but managed to strand the bases loaded in the first inning. This could possibly be excused by the delayed start to the game due to rain, and in the second inning he was really good with two strikeouts and a weak ground out. The game got away from him in the third inning as he allowed a cycle to the first five batters he faced before finishing off the inning with four runs allowed. Barger is a guy that projects as a reliever so I don’t think struggling the second time through the order really impacts his profile much, but the more it happens the quicker that switch to the bullpen will occur. Estarlin Rodriguez struggled mightily with three runs allowed in his first inning of relief work, then he pitched a scoreless fifth around a hit and a hit batter before the rains came in the top of the sixth.

Next Game: 6/6 vs (15-11) Charleston Riverdogs @ 2:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: TBD

CSC: TBD