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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Riley Homers Again and Acuna plays last game before promotion

Austin Riley continued his torrid streak at the plate, and we say goodbye to Ronald Acuna in the minor league recaps with a 2 hit performance.

MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

(7-10) Gwinnett Stripers 5, (6-9) Rochester Red Wings 2

Box Score

Ronald Acuna, LF: 2-4, 2B, BB, .232/.321/.304

Jose Bautista, 3B: 1-3, 2 BB .111/.273/.111

Dustin Peterson, RF: 3-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, .250/.308/.367

Chase Whitley, SP: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2.16 ERA

Ronald Acuna ended his Gwinnett tenure with a bang, starting in his first at bat of the game when he doubled for the first hit of the game. Gwinnett’s offense was stifled until the fifth inning, when a Jose Bautista leadoff walk and an Acuna single put two men on with none out. Carlos Franco came through with the hit to score Bautista and put Gwinnett up by a run, but it didn’t take long for Rochester to pull back even. Bautista and Acuna once again got the rally going in the 7th by walking consecutively, and Carlos Franco loaded the bases with a single that was too hard hit to score Bautista. Dustin Peterson strolled to the plate with the bases juiced, and promptly broke the game open with a Grand Slam, off of former M-Braves teammate Ryne Harper no less. Peterson has been on fire over his last 10 games, hitting .317/.364/.488 but with 12 strikeouts in that span he could be heading for a steep cliff if he can’t start to make contact at a higher rate.

After Max Fried was called up to Atlanta just hours before the game the Stripers were left scrambling for a starter in the game and turned to Chase Whitley to fill the void. Whitley was stellar for the Braves over his 3 13 innings, striking out 3 batters while not allowing a hit or a run. Andres Santiago ended up pitching the bulk of the innings in the game, replacing Whitley in the 4th inning and going 4 23 innings. After being given a 1-0 lead Santiago got into a bit of trouble in the 6th inning due to an error by Ronald Acuna, which allowed the tying run to score. The Braves brought Santiago out into the 9th inning to try to finish off the game, but he walked the first two batters he faced and was replaced by Evan Phillips. Phillips came in and immediately got a double play before allowing a run scoring base hit to former Brave Willians Astudillo (who actually struck out in the game) that scored the second run of the game. Phillips finished off the game by forcing a fly out.

Next Game: 4/25 @ (6-9) Rochester Red Wings @ 11:05 AM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: TBD

ROC: Adalberto Mejia (0-0, 5.63 ERA)

(8-11) Mississippi Braves 4, (9-9) Mobile BayBears 8

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 1-4, HR, BB, RBI, .373/.432/.761

Tyler Neslony, RF: 3-5, .324/.382/.368

Travis Demeritte, LF: 1-5, .149/.273/.319

Wes Parsons, SP: 0.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1.59 ERA

The Braves put up 14 hits in the game, but none of that was enough to climb out of the early hole that was dug by 5 Mobile runs in the first two innings. The Braves scoring got started in the fourth inning when Tyler Neslony led off the inning with one of his three hits in the game. After two quick outs followed Neslony was able to advance to second on a wild pitch, and Tyler Marlette singled him in. Michael Reed also had 3 hits in the game, pushing his batting average temporarily above .400, despite a 33.3% strikeout rate on the season. The third of Reed’s hits came with the bases loaded and scored 2 runs. Austin Riley was quiet for much of the game, but couldn’t spend a full nine inning without doing something and crushed his 4th home run of the season to lead off the 7th inning. Travis Demeritte had a hit in this game, and is quietly putting together a very good span at the plate. Over his last games Demeritte is hitting .273/.407/.636 with a 14.8% K rate, 14.8% walk rate, and a .267 BABIP.

When your pitcher can’t get out of the first inning it’s usually not a good sign for the team, especially when your defense seems to be providing no support for him. Wes Parsons got a ground out to open first inning, but allowed 2 hits to put runners on the corners with one out. A ground ball to Tyler Marlette should have been the second out of the inning, but Marlette couldn’t come up with it and a run scored on the play. A single loaded the bases before another error by Marlette allowed a run to score and a later ground out and single allowed two more to score and put Mobile up 4-0 in the first inning. After another base hit that reloaded the bases Parsons was pulled before the end of the inning for Kelvin Vazquez. Vazquez struggled as well, spreading 3 runs across 2 23 innings before being pulled for Connor Johnstone. Johnstone allowed his first run of the season in 1 23 innings of work. Adam McCreery pitched two scoreless innings, and Corbin Clouse finished it off with a scoreless 8th inning while striking out two. Clouse is currently performing as well as he ever has in his career, posting career best walk rates and striking out more than 12 per nine.

Next Game: 4/25 @ (9-9) Mobile BayBears @ 12:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Enderson Franco (0-1, 6.00 ERA)

MOB: Jesus Castillo (1-1, 6.39 ERA)

(6-13) Florida Fire Frogs 3, (14-5) Daytona Tortugas 7

Box Score

Cristian Pache, CF: 1-4, .286/.295/.377

Ray-Patrick Didder, SS: 1-4, 3B, .182/.237/.327

Brett Cumberland, C: 1-3, BB, .250/.324/.422

Joey Wentz, SP: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1.96 ERA

Cristian Pache got it going early for the Fire Frogs, singling with one out in the first inning and coming around to score on a double from Jared James. After Daytona tied it back up in the bottom of the inning the Fire Frogs went back to work, with Ray-Patrick Didder knocking a triple to get Florida threatening. A two out error brought in Didder to give Florida the lead back, but it didn’t last long as Daytona pulled ahead in the bottom of the inning. The Fire Frogs offense went into the hiding for most of the rest of the game, not making an appearance again until the 8th inning after the Tortugas had already extended their lead to 5 runs. Marcus Mooney led the inning off with a double and Anfernee Seymour followed with a double that put them at second at third, but neither Pache nor Brett Cumberland could bring them in and it seemed like the Fire Frogs might blow a prime scoring opportunity. Omar Obregon, on in place of Jared James who left for unknown reasons, came through though and singled to score Mooney.

It wasn’t the best of days for Joey Wentz, who was uncharacteristically both hittable and wild. Wentz allowed hits to the first two batters he faced in the game, then walked the next guy to load the bases with nobody out. Went managed to limit the damage by forcing a double play, and got out of the inning with only one run allowed. Once again given a lead in the second inning Wentz struggled out of the gate, walking the first two batters he faced and then allowing two hits to give Daytona the lead. Wentz seemed to settle down after that and only allowed one hit and no walks for the rest of his outing, but still gave up season highs in walks, hits, and runs, while striking out the lowest amount he has this season. I mean it’s only four games, but it’s still true, and if this is the worst he gets all season I think we could accept that. Bladimir Matos was wild in his 1 23 innings, but managed to keep runs off the board and keep it a one run game. Zach Rice came in for the 7th inning and the wheels fell off, as he allowed a grand slam before he even recorded an out. Rice finished the inning, but the deficit had grown to 5 runs and the Fire Frogs league-worst offense was not equipped to come back from that sort of hole. Mauricio Cabrera pitched a perfect inning, I’m serious, and only used 14 pitches with more than half being strikes.

Next Game: 4/25 @ (14-5) Daytona Tortugas 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

FLO: Ian Anderson (0-1, 4.76 ERA)

DBT: TBD

(10-7) Rome Braves 2, (10-8) West Virginia Power 0

Box Score

Jefrey Ramos, LF: 1-4, .271/.352/.333

Drew Lugbauer, C: 1-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .185/.254/.370

Alan Rangel, SP: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Freddy Tarnok SP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Rome’s offense tried their best to go into hiding, but Drew Lugbauer came through in the end as the pitching dominated the day. Rome did little to threaten early in the game, with Jefrey Ramos getting to second on a balk before an inning ending double play being the only player for either side to advance to second base in the first four and a half innings. Rome didn’t manage a baserunner outside of an error from the 5th to the 8th inning, but with two outs in the ninth inning Jean Carlos Encarnacion gave a glimmer of hope with a walk and then a stolen base. Drew Lugbauer decided to make that stolen base a bit irrelevant by smashing a go ahead two run home run to give the Braves a lead and a win.

Rome’s pitching staff had a huge day, starting with the dominance from Alan Rangel. Rangel pitched 4 innings and didn’t allow but one hit while striking out 8 batters and walking none. Rangel had struck out 14 batters in 9 innings this season with only two walks allowed, though the two home runs in his six run appearance in his second game of the season make him numbers look bad. Jacob Belinda pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Rangel, though he did fight a bit of trouble in the fifth inning but worked out of it. Freddy Tarnok came in and set the Power down 1-2-3 in the seventh, but ran into trouble with a leadoff double in the 8th inning. After a sacrifice bunt Tarnok walked a batter after going up 1-2 on him, and trouble seemed to be brewing, but Tarnok bounced back to strike out arguably the two best bats in the Power line up to preserve the shutout. Tarnok has been stellar with no earned runs allowed and 11 strikeouts over 9 innings this season, and since allowing three walks in his first outing had shown improved control with only 3 in the last 8 innings. Kelvin Rodriguez got the save with a scoreless ninth.

Next Game: 4/25 @ (10-8) West Virginia Power 5:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jasseel De La Cruz (1-2, 0.64 ERA)

WV: Travis MacGregor (1-1, 0.73 ERA)

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