Too bad the Braves lost that game against the Cubs last night. Those extra-inning defeats are always deflating. But I think there are a few storylines from down on the farm yesterday that should cheer Braves Country up. The bats were on fire – I’ll just say that much.
Here’s a recap of all the action down on the Braves farm from Wednesday…
AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (8-12)
W, 8-2 vs. Norfolk
(P) Touki Toussaint – (W), 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
(RF) Ronald Acuña Jr. – 2 for 5
(SS) Braden Shewmake – 1 for 5, HR, RBI, 2 R
(DH) Preston Tucker – 3 for 5, 2B, 2 R
(LF) William Contreras – 2 for 5, 2B, RBI, R
(CF) Delino DeShields – 3 for 3, 2B, RBI, BB
The Stripers offense was on to something on Wednesday, as every batter in the lineup recorded a hit against Norfolk, combining to tally 18 knocks as a team. And it all started immediately into the first inning, when, on the very first pitch of the game, Ronald Acuña Jr. slapped a single.
Acuña would end up scoring a little later in the inning, as William Contreras knocked him in from an RBI single to put Gwinnett up 1-0 through one.
The Stripers would score three more runs over the next two innings, thanks to an RBI double by Delino DeShields in the second, and then back-to-back RBI by each of Phil Gosselin (single) and John Negowski (sac-fly) in the third. But that 3-0 lead was quickly ruined, when in the fourth, the Tides finally got something going against Stripers starter Touki Toussaint. Touki worked around three hits and a walk in Norfolk’s two-run fourth, but he at least maintained the team’s lead.
Gwinnett went up 6-2 during the fifth, after a pair of RBI singles by each of Negowski and Ryan Goins. Then, later in the frame, RAJ got him yet another base-hit, when he turned on a breaking ball and lined it to left. That’s two knocks for the Braves star outfielder.
But the Stripers evidently weren’t done last night. The Gwinnett lineup struck again in the eighth, when prospect Braden Shewmake led off the inning with a solo home run. The blast was his second on the season.
Negowski later gave us the final when he slapped a ground ball to short to score Preston Tucker.
All-in-all, six Stripers batters finished Wednesday with multi-hit performances, including three-hit games for all of Tucker, Gosselin and DeShields. And those three are all hitting well this season, especially of late, sporting a .295 AVG, .300 AVG and .302 AVG, respectively. For Shewmake (.264 AVG this season), that’s now three XBH in his last seven games as he continues to handle Triple-A pitching well. Yesterday also featured yet another solid outing by Toussaint. Touki now sports a 2.04 ERA in 2022, with 23 strikeouts overall in 17 2/3 innings. He has pitched well both as a starter and out of the bullpen.
Big news that hit the wire today: Acuña’s rehab assignment has officially ended, as the Braves have recalled the star outfielder.
RAJ was incredible with Gwinnett during his six games there, hitting .368 with a pair of XBH and three stolen bases. In fact, of those six contests, three featured multi-hit performances.
AA – Mississippi Braves (5-12)
L, 10-9 vs. Montgomery
(P) Darius Vines – 3 2/3 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 5 K, 2 HR
(SS) Luke Waddell – 3 for 5, 2B, 3 RBI, R
(CF) Michael Harris II – 2 for 4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB, SB
(1B) Drew Lugbauer – 1 for 4, HR, RBI, BB
(2B) Yariel Gonzalez – 1 for 5, HR, RBI
Despite a whopping four home runs from the Mississippi offense, the M-Braves dropped its game against the Biscuits on Wednesday, thanks to a three-run seventh inning for Montgomery.
Let’s just say Mississippi’s pitchers got knocked around a bit, as starter Darius Vines allowed seven runs in 3 2/3, followed by three more earned runs from the M-Braves bullpen, all charged to Trey Riley who surrendered that rally in the seventh. For the prospect Vines, of his four outings this season, that’s two strong ones and two bad ones, as he’ll enter next week with a 5.50 ERA in 2022.
On a positive note, at least, prospect outfielder Michael Harris II continues to rake. Last night the 21-year-old picked up two hits – one a homer and one a double, pushing his season AVG up to .319.
Here’s a pulled home run in the fourth, Harris’ second dinger of the season…
And here’s Harris showing off his speed, stealing his seventh bag of 2022…
Shortstop Luke Waddell also had himself a terrific game last night, picking up a whopping three hits and three RBI. The man is just spraying the ball all over the field right now, as Waddell has went 11 for 25 (.440 AVG) over his last six games, including four doubles and five RBI.
Jalen Miller also got in on the fun for Mississippi on Wednesday. Miller DH’d and picked up his first home run of the season when he turned on a pitch. The long ball tied the game at 7-7 in the fifth.
It’s a shame. In the top of the seventh, Yariel Gonzalez and Drew Lugbauer both went back-to-back with homers to start the frame, putting the M-Braves up 9-7. However, that lead was quickly ruined in Montgomery’s half of the inning, as seven Biscuits batters came to the plate against Riley and scored three runs to retake the lead… and eventually win the game.
A+ – Rome Braves (10-7)
L, 3-1 vs. Greensboro
(P) Andrew Hoffmann – (L), 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, HR
(LF) David Campbell – 1 for 3, R, 2 BB
(SS) Vaughn Grissom – 1 for 5
Prospect righty Andrew Hoffmann did his best to once again turn in a gem on Wednesday. The kid went seven innings, only allowing two runs from four hits to go with five strikeouts. A Greensboro solo-homer in the fourth was really Hoffmann’s only mistake of the outing, but he was still stuck with the loss, due to the lack of offense from Rome.
In the second, Hoffmann induced one of his six ground ball outs, and the R-Braves defense turned a beautiful double-play to end the inning.
But in that aforementioned fourth, the Grasshoppers threatened when Matt Gorski slapped a one-out double. A wild-pitch by Hoffmann allowed Gorski to advance to third, and then a groundout by Henry Davis pushed in the run. A batter later, Hoffmann surrendered that solo homer, and just like that Greensboro was up 2-0.
But in the eighth, after Rome reliever R.J. Freure allowed another Grasshoppers run (RBI double) in the top of the frame, in the bottom-half of the inning, Drew Campbell scored thanks to an error by the Greensboro defense, making it a 3-1 game.
But that was all the R-Braves offense could muster. In the ninth, Rome’s lineup went down rather quietly. Save for a one-out single by Christian Robinson and a walk by Cody Milligan, Rome couldn’t get anything else going.
There’s not much to take away from this one. The R-Braves usually are racking up hits all over the place, but on Wednesday the team just didn’t have it. Prospect Vaughn Grissom was back in the Rome lineup last night, although it appears third baseman Justyn-Henry Malloy was given the game off. For Hoffmann, despite the loss, his numbers this season are strong. The kid owns a 2.86 ERA in four outing so far, to go with an average of 11 strikeouts per nine.
A – Augusta GreenJackets (9-8)
W, 14-2 vs. Delmarva
(P) Luis Vargas – 4 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K
(P) Peyton Williams – 2 IP, H, 2 K
(C) Victor De Hoyos – 5 for 5, HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R
(SS) Caleb Durbin – 3 for 6, 3 RBI, 2 R, SB
(3B) Brian Klein – 2 for 2, 2 RBI, R, BB
(RF) Brandon Parker – 2 for 5, RBI, R
Last night was a rout for Augusta, who turned 17 team hits into 14 runs, thanks to a 7 for 18 performance with runners in scoring position. The 19-year-old Luis Vargas got the start for the GreenJackets and pitched a season-high four innings , allowing just a pair of hits to go with five strikeouts. The Augusta bullpen did a nice job as well, even despite two earned runs from James Acuna in the seventh.
Although the storyline from Wednesday’s win has to be catcher Victor De Hoyos’ 5 for 5 performance at the plate. The 24-year-old could not be stopped last night, and he gets an A+ for not just destroying a baseball in the sixth, but also for that beautiful bat flip.
That long ball by Hoyos was part of a 10-run sixth inning, in which the GreenJackets sent 15 batters to the plate. Yep, that means six Augusta batters hit twice in that inning(lol).
It was a crazy game for the GreenJackets offense, and along with Hoyos, infielder Caleb Durbin just keeps on hitting, as he turned in a three-hit performance himself. Durbin, 22-years-old, is hitting .333 for the season and has nine RBI over his last seven games, which is pretty impressive considering he’s Augusta’s primary lead-off hitter.
Also, not included in the list of players above, Connor Blair picked up two hits, and other contributors included Brandol Mezquita (1 for 4, RBI, R, BB), Stephen Paolini (1 for 4, RBI, R, BB) and Geraldo Quintero (1 for 5, R). In fact, the only GreenJackets batter that failed to record a hit last night was Mahki Backstrom.
It looks like prospect outfielder Kadon Morton received the night off, as he’s hitting just .065 (3 for 46) for the year.