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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Fire Frogs go wild, Braxton has career game

There was offense a-plenty in the farm system on Friday

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gwinnett Braves 1, Pawtucket Red Sox 10

Box Score

  • Ozzie Albies, 2B: 0-4, 2 Ks, .276/.301/.414
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-2, 2B, BB, run, .213/.263/.320
  • Aaron Blair, SP: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 0 Ks, 8.82 ERA

Welp...this one did not go well for Gwinnett as Pawtucket scored in the 2nd through 5th innings and routed the Braves 10-1. You have to get a bit unlucky when you allow 8 baserunners and 7 of them come around to score, but this was a mess often of Aaron Blair’s own making. A bases clearing triple and a three-run homer (the latter of which ended his day) did the bulk of the damage, but his fastball command was quite poor and his slider did not have the same bite it had in his previous two outings. When you leave pitches fat in the middle of the plate and your breaking ball can’t keep hitters honest, this is what happens (the zero strikeouts is particularly alarming).

On the offensive side, there is very little to like from this game. Kyle Kendrick mowed through the Gwinnett lineup, including Ozzie Albies who went 0-4 with a pair of strikeouts on the day. Rio Ruiz had really the only decent day amongst lineup regulars for Gwinnett with a walk, a double, and scoring Gwinnett’s sole run in the 8th inning (and off a lefty at that!). Ryan Howard had the only other hit for Atlanta and hopefully he will join Atlanta’s bench soon to replace the shell of Emilio Bonifacio.

Next Game: 4/29 DH at 4:05 PM @ Pawtucket. Probable Starters - Andrew Albers and TBD

Mississippi Braves 8, Tennessee Smokies 7

Box Score

  • Travis Demeritte, 2B: 2-3, 2B, BB, 2 runs, .243/.333/.378
  • Dylan Moore, SS: 1-5, 2B, 3 RBI, .152/.263/.242
  • Kolby Allard, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 runs (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1.67 ERA

Mississippi held off a late rally from Tennessee with some timely hitting to pull out a 8-7 win over the Smokies. Kolby Allard had an uncharacteristically rough start to this game, in particular with his command early. He walked a batter and gave up a two-run homer in the 1st inning and struggled to get his pitches inside to hitters and was missing his spots up a bit. He definitely improved after that inning and made a nice play on a bunt to turn a double play. The other two runs (both correctly labeled as unearned) off of Allard were hardly his fault as Travis Demeritte had a really rough inning in the field in the top of the 6th with two errors that directly resulted in two runs scoring. Kolby did appear to tire in the 6th and was pulled after that.

Fortunately for Demeritte, he had a strong day at the plate with a pair of hits, a walk, and scoring two of Mississippi’s runs. Today was the second straight multi-hit game for Demeritte as he tries to get out of a bit of an early season funk. Dylan Moore has not had a good start to the season, but had a big hit and 3 RBIs in this one. Adam Walker has struggled mightily at both AAA and AA this season with big strikeout totals the primary culprit, but one thing he can do is occasionally hit a ball like it tripped his mother and he did just that in this game...a solo shot in the 3rd inning. Armando Araiza added his own solo shot in the 6th inning and Walker drove in what would turn out to be the winning run on a sac fly in the 7th.

Next Game: 4/29 at 7 PM vs. Tennessee. Probable Starter - Matt Withrow

Florida Fire Frogs 18, Lakeland Flying Tigers 0

Box Score

  • Braxton Davidson, LF: 4-4, HR, 3 RBIs, 3 runs, 2 BBs, .200/.341/.271
  • Carlos Castro, 1B: 4-6, 2B, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 runs, .362/.405/.493
  • Ronald Acuna, CF: 3-6, 3B, RBI, 3 runs, .291/.341/.494
  • Tyler Pike, SP: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2.63 ERA

Whew lawd....this Fire Frogs team has the ability to go wild on offense at times and after a 22-2 win not long ago, they put it on Lakeland early and often in this one as they won 18-0. Before we get to the offensive bonanza, Tyler Pike did fine work in this game, going 7 strong innings to help preserve the bullpen that has struggled at times this season and had his second scoreless outing this season. 4 of his 5 starts this season have resulted in Pike giving up 2 runs or less. Corbin Clouse and Josh Graham were excellent in their relief appearances and Corbin in particular has seemed much more comfortable after some rough appearances to start the season in high-A.

On offense, there is no way to cover all the notable offensive performances as the Frogs 10 runs in the first inning and never looked back as they made Lakeland look like a varsity high school squad. Jonathan Morales, Ronald Acuna, Braxton Davidson (more on him in a second), Carlos Castro, and Alay Lago all had 3+ hit performances on the night and Castro, Braxton, and Austin Riley all went deep in this game. Our hats are off to Braxton Davidson who we have been very pessimistic about here at Talking Chop. He had one of the best games of his career in reaching base 6 times (4 hits, 2 walks) including his first home run of the season. This was his first 4-hit game since 6/14/15 when he was in Rome.

Next Game: 4/29 at 7 PM vs. Lakeland. Probable Starter - Drew Harrington

Rome Braves 9, West Virginia Power 4

Box Score

  • Anthony Concepcion, 1B: 1-2, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB, 2 runs, .217/.276/.333
  • Lucas Herbert, C: 2-4, 3 RBIs, run, .180/.196/.280
  • Ryan Lawlor, SP: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2.25 ERA

Rome continued their assault on the South Atlantic League using balanced production throughout the lineup, speed, and a big grand slam from Anthony Concepcion to beat the Power 9-4. Ryan Lawlor has been quietly excellent this season with four of his first 5 starts being ones where he gave up one run or last. He has taken to his demotion to Rome well and could jump back up to high-A once promotions start happening within the organization. Bladimir Matos gave up three earned runs in his relief appearance and has now given up earned runs in each of his last four appearances out of the bullpen.

Surprisingly, the only lineup regular that did not record a hit was Randy Ventura who has started the year off quite hot (he did reach base on a walk though). Lucas Herbert, looking to show that he can produce offensively in addition to be a sound defensive catcher after a really rough 2016 and start to 2017, had a pair of hits and 3 RBIs in this game. The biggest offensive blow from Rome came off the bat of Anthony Concepcion as he crushed a grand slam in the 4th inning that put Rome up for good. Anfernee Seymour, Kevin Josephina, and Herbert all had multi-hit games and Cristian Pache stole his 5th base of the season.

Next Game: 4/29 at 6 PM vs. West Virginia. Probable Starter - Bryse Wilson

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