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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Lucas Sims pitches a gem, Ian Anderson debuts

The Braves affiliates took 3 of 4 games on Sunday on the backs of some strong pitching performances and timely hitting

Ozzie Albies

Gwinnett Braves 4, Durham Bulls 2

Box Score

  • Ozzie Albies, 2B: 2-4, 2B, run, SB(2),
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-4, 2B
  • Lane Adams, RF: 1-3, inside-the-park HR, 2 RBI
  • Lucas Sims, SP: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Gwinnett got their first win of the season thanks to a nice start from Lucas Sims and some timely hitting to secure a 4-2 win. On the pitching side, Lucas Sims got off to a stellar start by striking out the first three batters he faced. While we knew that he had the ability to have dominant innings like that, what was more impressive that even when the strikeouts tailed off he was still very effective at throwing strikes, working the outside corner, and being efficient through the first 5 innings. Two of his walks came in the 6th where he was pretty clearly gassed and they did not come back to affect his line after he was pulled. Caleb Dirks gave up a homer but was otherwise his usual good self. Jason Hursh and David Hernandez pitched two scoreless innings of relief to secure the win.

On offense, Ozzie Albies was wreaking havoc most of the game. He had an infield single in the 1st that Garrett (who was in attendance) timed him getting to first from the right side in 4 seconds flat (reviewing the footage, he also claims that it could be a tick faster than that even) and then promptly stole second and later scored. He also had a hard liner that knocked the pitcher’s glove off that resulted in an out and then a loud ground-rule double to left-center. Lane Adams added an inside-the-park home run after the right fielder missed his diving catch attempt and he scored standing up. Rio Ruiz hit a double and, arguably more importantly, looked much more comfortable against the lefty than he has in the past against southpaws. One hopes he continues improving his platoon splits and if he does, he will press for playing time in Atlanta quickly.

Next Game: 4/10 @ Norfolk. Probable Starter - RHP Luke Jackson

Mississippi Braves 4, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 3 - F/13

Box Score

  • Keith Curcio, RF: 5-6, 2 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, run
  • Travis Demeritte, 2B: 2-6, 2B, run
  • Matt Withrow, SP: 5 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
  • Philip Pfeifer, RP: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Mississippi salvaged a series split with Jacksonville with a really good start from Matt Withrow and a monster game from Keith Curcio including hitting a 2-run walk-off single in the bottom of 13th and won 4-3. Matt Withrow had a perfect game through 5 innings. In this the 6th, he gave up a single and a walk and Chad Sobotka came in and promptly walked the bases loaded and then allowed both inherited runners to score on a force out and a single. The next inning, he then gave up two walks and a bunt single to load the bases again but a heads up throw from Demeritte to get the force at home and then a double play on a line drive to Dylan Moore got him out of it. The bullpen was excellent over their 8 innings other than that and Evan Phillips giving up a run in the top of the 13th which was erased by Curcio’s heroics.

It always seems like Keith Curcio has a couple games each season (especially early in the season) where he loses his mind and goes wild. He had 5 hits in this game including 3 extra-base hits and hitting the walk-off single. Travis Demeritte had his first multi-hit game of the season including a double and both Joey Meneses and Kade Scivicque had RBIs in this marathon game. Luis Valenzuela also reached base 3 times including a pair of hits as he continues his hot start to the season.

Next Game: 4/10 vs. Jacksonville. Probable Starter - RHP Mike Soroka

Florida Fire Frogs 5, Daytona Tortugas 14

Box Score

  • Alex Jackson, DH: 2-4, 2 runs, 2B
  • Carlos Castro, 1B: 2-4, 2 RBI
  • Ricardo Sanchez, SP: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

We won’t dwell on this game too much as there was not a lot that went right as Florida fell to Daytona 14-5. On offense, Alex Jackson continued his strong start to his Braves career with a pair of hits including a double. Carlos Castro had a pair of hits to go along with 2 RBIs and now has 3 multi-hit games in the first 4 games of the season. Ronald Acuna and Austin Riley struggled in this one as they combined to go 0-6 with a walk and 5 strikeouts.

On the pitching side....woof. In fairness, Ricardo Sanchez did look better than his line indicates, but his command faltered after the first couple of innings and did not pitch well with runners on. The short version of the story here: 4 Firefrog pitchers appeared in this game and all of them gave up as least 2 earned runs.

Next Game: 4/10 vs. Dunedin. Probable Starter - RHP Touki Toussaint

Rome Braves 2, West Virginia 1 - F/11

Box Score

  • Anfernee Seymour, OF: 2-5, 2 2B, run
  • Randy Ventura, RF: 2-4, 2B
  • Ian Anderson, SP: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K

Ian Anderson made his full season debut and promptly set a career high with 8 strikeouts and Rome survived striking out a staggering 20 times and won another extra-inning affair 2-1. It is a testament to the pitching staff that they kept Rome in this game despite some dominant pitching from the opposing team and it started with Anderson. He had some command issues at times (which is to be expected the first start out of the gate), but his stuff looked really sharp and he made sure to take advantage of what must have been a generous strike zone as well (there were 37 strikeouts in this game...that is a lot). Pitch count kept him from going deeper into the game, but the bullpen of Tucker Davidson, Matt Custred, and Jon Kennedy had his back as they pitched 6.1 scoreless innings to give Rome an opportunity to win the game

As for the offense, there was not much. Anfernee Seymour and Randy Ventura had the only multi-hit games for Rome with Ventura adding his second stolen base of the season. Marcus Mooney scored Rome’s first run in the 3rd on a wild pitch well before Rome even had a hit in this game. Fortunately, Anthony Concepcion drove in the game winning run with a single that scored Seymour to get Rome a series sweep to start the season.

Next Game: 4/10 @Kannapolis - Probable Starter: LHP Joey Wentz

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