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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 4/23: Soroka throws a shutout, Riley just keeps hitting

There were a pair of doubleheaders and a rainout (again) on Monday evening. Mike Soroka continued his torrid start to the season on the mound and Austin Riley just keeps getting hit after hit.

MLB: Atlanta Braves-Media Day Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Before we get into the recap, I am just going to post this here. Someone needs to take the voodoo curse off of the Braves organization....specifically their pitching staff (this isn’t a complete list, but you will get the gist)

Gwinnett Stripers 1, Rochester Red Wings 0 - Game One

Box Score

  • Ronald Acuna Jr., LF: 1-2, BB, 3 SB, .219/.306/.281
  • Rio Ruiz, 1B: 1-3, .262/.308/.393
  • Mike Soroka, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1.99 ERA

Gwinnett Stripers 1, Rochester Red Wings 2 - Game Two

Box Score

  • Jose Bautista, DH: 0-3, K
  • Carlos Franco, 1B: 1-3, .290/.348/.516
  • Lucas Sims, SP: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 4 K, 2.45 ERA

Gwinnett split a doubleheader with Rochester as we saw a pair of pitcher’s duels with Gwinnett winning the first game 1-0 and Rochester taking the second 2-1. The first game was started by Mike Soroka and, predictably, he was awesome again. He gave up three hits in the game and only one of them left the infield. The three walks were uncharacteristic, but at that point one is just nitpicking as he threw a complete game shutout (minor league doubleheader games are seven innings each) while striking out four batters. When Anthopoulos said that he is very close to a promotion this past week, he wasn’t lying. The second game was started by Lucas Sims and while he only gave up two earned runs, he flirted with danger throughout his start as he walked six batters in 3 13 innings of work. Between that and a rough relief appearance in Atlanta the other night, it has been a rough stretch for Sims in the past week.

On offense, there wasn’t much happening for Gwinnett outside of Ronald Acuna running wild in game one. He singled and walked in the first game of the doubleheader and very clearly had the green light as he stole three bases in the game. This proved to be pivotal as he stole second and third after he walked and scored on a Tyler Flowers RBI groundout for the game’s only run. In the second game, there was not much going on as all. Tyler Smith had a pair of hits including a double that scored the Stripers’ only run, but Gwinnett only managed two other hits from the rest of the lineup.

Mississippi Braves 6, Mobile BayBears 3 - Game One

Box Score

  • Alay Lago, DH: 3-4, 2B, RBI, 2 runs, .315/.339/.407
  • Tyler Neslony, RF: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB, .302/.366/.349
  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 5.71 ERA

Mississippi Braves 2, Mobile BayBears 5 - Game Two

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 1-3, 3B, .381/.435/.746
  • Tyler Marlette, C: 1-3, 2B, run, .182/.234/.364
  • Michael Mader, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2.84 ERA

In the other doubleheader from Monday, Mississippi too split their twin bill as the took game one by the score of 6-3 and then fell to Mobile by the score of 5-2. Touki Toussaint was pretty good in this game, although the five walks are unsightly. It is worth noting that he walked three of the last four batters he faced in the game and he ended his start having thrown 87 pitches. Do with this information what you will. Michael Mader started the second game and gave up a run in three innings of work. Then Tyler Pike came on in relief and...uh...it did not go well. Pike when 1 23 innings and walked five batters although only one was earned due to a throwing error (Austin Riley’s first error of the season). The wheels were off by that point and Mississippi couldn’t mount and offense to overcome the deficit.

Speaking of offense, Austin Riley just keeps hitting. He had a hit in both games of the doubleheader including another triple in the second game. Fun fact: Austin is tied for second in the Southern League with three on the season and is also top 10 in most offensive categories while we are at it. In short, he is raking. After a strong offensive season in the Florida State League, Alay Lago has also kept hitting as he had three hits in the first game of the doubleheader and is batting .315 to start the season. Tyler Neslony has hit safely in four straight games after getting hits in both halves of the twin bill. While is ultimate position and whether or not his power will play consistently in games is definitely in question, it seems pretty clear that they guy can hit. Travis Demeritte also connected for his second home run of the season in the first game of the doubleheader.

Florida Fire Frogs 3, Daytona Tortugas 6

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-4, RBI, .288/.297/.384
  • Brett Cumberland, C: 2-4, .246/.313/.426
  • Tucker Davidson, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 1 K, 8.36 ERA

Tucker Davidson continues to have a rough start to his 2018 season as the Fire Frogs fell to Daytona 6-3. There were few prospects that had more helium in the Braves’ system than Tucker coming into the season, but he has struggled so far. This is his second five walk game of the season and he has yet to pitch more than four innings in any start this year. He didn’t have a big issue with walks last year, so for now we are just chalking this up to early season rust. Thomas Burrows and Justin Kelly combined for 2 23 scoreless innings with six strikeouts before Sean McLaughlin came in to close the game out for Florida that saw him give up an earned run on two hits while striking out a pair of batters.

Cristian Pache is starting to heat up, although we are still waiting for his power to show up consistently in games. He has 14 hits in his last 10 games including a pair of hits and an RBI in this one. One thing to just keep an eye on is his walk rate (just one walk through 18 games) given that, if he ends up not develop meaningful game power, he is going to have to be able to get on base at a decent clip so that he can take advantage of his top end speed. Brett Cumberland had a pair of hits which will hopefully break him out of his recent slump. One player that has struggled all season at the plate is Lucas Herbert who is batting .149 on the season. Lucas is a very talented defensive catcher, but the bat has always been the question and the start to this season has done little to quell those concerns.

Rome Braves, West Virginia Power

Postponed - I can only assume that Kevin Karel has angered the rain gods

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