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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 8/20: Thurman and Bywater impress, the Mudcats dig the long ball

The Braves' affiliates when 4-2 on a night that saw strong pitching and hitting performances across multiple levels

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

(60-66) Louisville Bats 4 vs. (67-58) Gwinnett Braves 5

Box Score

  • Mallex Smith, CF: 0-5, .278/.317/.370
  • Daniel Castro, SS: 3-4, 3 RBI, .271/.321/.301
  • Hector Olivera, 3B: 2-3, 1 run, 1 BB
  • Jason Hursh, RP: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 6.00 ERA
  • Sugar Ray Marimon, SP: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 3.31 ERA

Gwinnett held on to win over Louisville 5-4 despite a very poor relief appearance from Jason Hursh. He gave up 4 runs in this game, which were the first runs he gave up since his promotion to Gwinnett. Luckily, Sugar Ray Marimon dominated Louisville for 7 innings up and had stake Gwinnett to a very healthy lead as he gave up no runs and just 2 hits. Mallex Smith had his recent hot streak momentarily halted with an 0-5 performance while Hector Olivera looks like he is rounding in to form in his rehab assignment as he reached base 3 times. One would expect him to be called up in the next few days if I had to guess. Daniel Castro, not exactly known for his run production, was swinging the big stick in this game as he had 3 hits and 3 RBIs. Joey T added an RBI double to continue his good work down at AAA and functionally being an extension of Atlanta's bench.

(62-59) Birmingham Barons 3 vs. (62-58) Mississippi Braves 4

Box Score

  • Emerson Landoni, SS: 2-4, 1 run, .293/.329/.372
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-3, 1 run, 1 BB, .223/.329/.281
  • KD Kang, RF: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 run, .277/.354/.395
  • Andrew Thurman, SP: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 4.22 ERA

Andrew Thurman had a strong start for Mississippi as the Braves defeated Birmingham 4-3. After a so-so debut in AA, Thurman followed that with a strong 6 inning, 1 ER performance that was similar of what we saw out of him the first half of the season down at Carolina. Kyle Kinman had a tough relief appearance, giving up two runs, but since he started the year in Rome and has moved up two levels this season while being a top notch relief option...we'll give him a pass on this one. Rio Ruiz has somewhat stopped the bleeding in terms of his slide back below the Mendoza line, but still has a lot of work to do. Emerson Landoni continued his good work at the top of the lineup and while his lack of baserunning skills will keep him from getting much buzz as a prospect, he is a consistent performer and could provide a boost off the bench for an MLB team.

(55-67) Salem Red Sox 0 vs. (64-58) Carolina Mudcats 8

Box Score

  • Keith Curcio, CF: 2-4, HR(4), 3 RBI, .227/.291/.365
  • Jacob Schrader, DH: 2-4, HR(13), 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 runs, .262/.308/.469
  • Matt Bywater, SP: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA

Carolina used the long ball and another strong performance from Matt Bywater to down Salem 8-0. Bywater, a signee out of an independent league, has been outstanding in his two starts thus far for Carolina, giving up 0 ER in both starts. While there have been signs of iffy control at times, he could prove to be a great pickup for the Braves in the future. While Dustin Peterson had been swinging the lumber of late, it was Keith Curcio (all 5'10 of him) and Jacob Schrader who cleared the fences in this game. They each also had 3 RBIs to pace the Carolina offense while Bywater shut the Red Sox down.

(63-59) Asheville Tourists 3 vs. (51-72) Rome Braves 1

Box Score

  • Luke Dykstra, 2B: 1-4, 1  2B, 1 RBI, .250/.283/.295 (at Rome)
  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 0-3, 1 BB, .238/.385/.364
  • Trevor Belichek, SP: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K,

Not much to like on the offensive side if you are a Rome fan as they fell again, 3-1. Rome managed just one hit in the game, a double from Luke Dykstra that did drive in Rome's only run. Braxton Davidson walked again, but he also has just 1 hit in his past 6 games. On the upside, Trevor Belichek, who was just recently promoted from Danville, had a very strong debut for Rome as he went 5.2 innings while giving up no earned runs. Taylor Lewis, another 2015 draftee, had his first rough relief outing for Rome in giving up a couple of runs, but given his track record this year thus far it does not appear to be concerning.

(28-27) Greeneville Astros 6 vs. (26-30) Danville Braves 5

Box Score

  • Ronald Acuna, RF: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, .241/.333/.379
  • Austin Riley, 3B: 2-4, 1 run, .299/.397/.463
  • Juan Yepez, 1B: 1-4, HR(1), 1 RBI, .182/.233/.309
  • Matt Withrow, SP: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 3.99 ERA

The bullpen could not hold the Astros down as Danville loses 6-5. Matt Withrow had a decent start, going 4 innings while giving up 2 earned runs. However, Luis Gamez would give up 3 runs (two earned) which would let the Astros get back in the game. Austin Riley had 2 more hits, but he also made an error in the field to bring his season total (between two levels) up to 14. Juan Yepez, who has been struggling since his promotion to Danville, hit his first home since his promotion and second on the season overall. However, the real star on offense today was Ronald Acuna who had two extra-base hits at the top of the lineup while driving in two runs.

(22-30) GCL Braves 2 vs. (31-19) GCL Phillies 7

Box Score

  • Angel Perez, SS: 2-5, 1 run, .226/.274/.229
  • Kelvin Estevez, RF: 1-4, 1 RBI, .250/.250/.250
  • Felix Falcon, SP: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 4.60 ERA
Rough night down in the GCL as the Braves fell to the Phillies 7-2. Felix Falcon continues to provide serviceable numbers in each start with this game being no exception. However, things sort of spiraled out of control a bit after he left the game and the offense didn't provide much help. Angel Perez did his part with a couple of hits, but unfortunately the GCL Braves only managed 7 singles as their hit total on the evening and could not push many runs across. Given the number of promotions from the GCL to Danville, especially on offense, its not really that surprising to see them struggle on offense.

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