(64-76) Gwinnett Braves 0, (62-79) Durham Bulls 14
Rio Ruiz, DH: 0-3, .277/.361/.410
Emilio Bonifacio, CF: 0-2, .298/.358/.372
Wilfredo Boscan, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 4.16 ERA
With Charlotte off tonight due to a rainout, Gwinnett was given an opportunity to pull a full 3 games up and lower their magic number to 2. They did not capitalize. In the bottom of first inning the Braves got a man to second base after 2 consecutive walks with one out, but were unable to get him around to score. That would be the last time a GBrave touched second base in the game, and Durham faced just one man over the minimum for the next 8 innings. Even the red hot Rio Ruiz couldn’t get anything going at the plate, snapping an 8 game hitting streak that was his longest since 6/16-6/26. Nonetheless Ruiz’s numbers since the beginning of August have been fantastic-he’s hitting .286/.370/.491 in that time frame.
Somehow, the pitching managed to be even worse than the offense that only got 2 hits. It started out with Wilfredo Boscan being unable to stay out of trouble in any of his three innings, allowing 1, 1, and 2 runs in order. He gave way for Madison Younginer, who saw his command evaporate and caused him to hit two batters and only throw 50% of his pitches for strikes. Younginer hit the first batter he faced, gave up a home run to the next, a triple, and then hit another batter before recording his first out. After an intentional walk, Younginer allowed a bases clearing double that put the game out of reach early. Brian Moran pitched solidly and only allowed 1 run in 2.1, but Steve Kent’s first AAA start didn’t go well. While he was able to get out of the inning, he allowed 4 runs and walked 2 with no strikeouts. The GBraves turned to the bench for help and Reid Brignac and Emerson Landoni pitched a scoreless innings each, an impressive feat for position players thought honestly at that point I think everyone was just ready to go home.
Next Game: 9/3 vs (62-79) Durham Bulls @ 7:05 PM ET
GWN: Chris Ellis (4-6, 6.32 ERA)
DUR: Justin Marks (6-11, 4.04 ERA)
(72-63) Mississippi Braves 10, (70-66) Biloxi Shuckers 0
Ozzie Albies, 2B: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, .328/.397/.475
Dustin Peterson, LF: 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB, .282/.339/.432
Connor Lien, RF: 3-5, 3B, RBI, .232/.322/.411
Mallex Smith, CF: 3-3, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, .833/.857/1.167
Sean Newcomb, SP: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 3.86 ERA
For all the bad that was Gwinnett’s game, Mississippi was just as good and got a commanding win to push them one game closer to a playoff spot. Their magic number to clinch the South for the second half is down to 3, although on the rules all they really need to do is win one of the final 3 games to clinch the spot from Biloxi. Before we even talk about the sheer dominance of the Newcomb led pitching staff that all but guaranteed Mississippi it’s 4th straight win by itself, let’s talk about the equal dominance of the offense. To the surprise of absolutely no one Mallex Smith is dominating his rehab starts in AA. While it may be a bit unfair to rehab a major leaguer with a team in the midst of it’s final series to make the playoffs, I’m not here to debate morality I just want Mississippi in the playoffs. Mallex accounted for 5 runs, 3 crossing the plate himself and 2 others by way of his 2 run 4th inning single which was part of a 6 run inning. Ozzie Albies has answered those who were worried about late season fatigue with an 8 game hitting streak that has seen him hit 7 extra base hits, and tonight he got himself to 48 on the season. Connor Lien and Dustin Peterson filled out a phenomenal outfield performance with 3 hits and 2 hits with a walk respectively. All of this, not even mentioning Carlos Franco’s first inning home run that drove in 2.
After being written off as a complete bust by the more, shall I put it lightly, irrational members of the fanbase earlier this season, and by even the more realistic of the group as a bit disappointing (guilty as charged), Sean Newcomb has gone on an insane tear that has him potentially looking at an outside shot at spot #5 in Atlanta next season. For the second time all season, Sean Newcomb completed 7 innings, the first time he has done so scoreless. This is also the first game of more than 5 innings with less than 2 hits, and now all 4 of his scoreless outings have come since July 18 with 3 of them in his last 5 games. His 82 game score, well that ties his career high set last season in a performance in which he no hit the other team for 7 innings. Newcomb showed just how incredible he can be when he controls the ball, and he kept 69 of his 102 pitches in the zone in tonight’s showcase. He faced just 2 over the minimum, had a perfect game through 5 innings, and never allowed a man past first base. His last 7 starts (since July 30) have been staggering. While his innings count of 39.2 is a bit low, he has been nothing short of dominant when he is on the field. In that time he has struck out 51 batters, allowed a slightly high but much improved 21 walks (3.2 per 9 IP). He has allowed just 25 hits in that time with a 0.98 WHIP, 2.04 ERA, and a matching 2.03 FIP . His opponents are hitting .174/.259/.208, and the team is 6-1 with the only loss coming in a 2-0 game in which Newcomb pitched 6 shutout innings.
Next Game: 9/3 vs (70-66) Biloxi Shuckers 7:00 PM ET
MIS: Michael Mader (0-3, 2.52)
BLX: Taylor Jungmann (3-3, 2.33 ERA)